Code rules everything around us but how many of us really know what it is? For those code neophytes among us, Bloomberg Businessweek has published a gigantic primer on the history of code written by programmer Paul Ford. And when we say “gigantic,” we mean it — in total, Ford’s article is 38,000 words.

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So what does Ford have to tell us about code? He first starts off with a rundown of why it’s so important — basically, if you’re a business and your website is using outdated code, you’re going to get smoked in online commerce. Just consider the massive overhaul that websites have had to undertake in recent years to optimize themselves for smartphones and you’ll get a sense of just how important it is to keep up with the latest code.

From there he takes a step back and walks us through the history of different coding languages including C, C++, Java, Python and JavaScript. He also explains the difficulties in getting different codes to work together and delves into the tribalistic world of coder culture in which he ponders the question, “Why are coders so angry?”

The entire piece is very well written and can be found here.

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