Code (Developer Best Practices) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading Code (Developer Best Practices) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software [Paperback]

Charles Petzold
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 25.99
Price: CDN$ 13.71 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
You Save: CDN$ 12.28 (47%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Usually ships within 9 to 11 days.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition CDN $9.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $13.71  

Book Description

Oct. 21 2000 0735611319 978-0735611313 1

What do flashlights, the British invasion, black cats, and seesaws have to do with computers? In CODE, they show us the ingenious ways we manipulate language and invent new means of communicating with each other. And through CODE, we see how this ingenuity and our very human compulsion to communicate have driven the technological innovations of the past two centuries.

Using everyday objects and familiar language systems such as Braille and Morse code, author Charles Petzold weaves an illuminating narrative for anyone who’s ever wondered about the secret inner life of computers and other smart machines.

It’s a cleverly illustrated and eminently comprehensible story—and along the way, you’ll discover you’ve gained a real context for understanding today’s world of PCs, digital media, and the Internet. No matter what your level of technical savvy, CODE will charm you—and perhaps even awaken the technophile within.

Frequently Bought Together

CODE: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software + The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles + Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science (2nd Edition)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 97.92

Some of these items ship sooner than the others. Show details

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Charles Petzold's latest book, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, crosses over into general-interest nonfiction from his usual programming genre. It's a carefully written, carefully researched gem that will appeal to anyone who wants to understand computer technology at its essence. Readers learn about number systems (decimal, octal, binary, and all that) through Petzold's patient (and frequently entertaining) prose and then discover the logical systems that are used to process them. There's loads of historical information too. From Louis Braille's development of his eponymous raised-dot code to Intel Corporation's release of its early microprocessors, Petzold presents stories of people trying to communicate with (and by means of) mechanical and electrical devices. It's a fascinating progression of technologies, and Petzold presents a clear statement of how they fit together.

The real value of Code is in its explanation of technologies that have been obscured for years behind fancy user interfaces and programming environments, which, in the name of rapid application development, insulate the programmer from the machine. In a section on machine language, Petzold dissects the instruction sets of the genre-defining Intel 8080 and Motorola 6800 processors. He walks the reader through the process of performing various operations with each chip, explaining which opcodes poke which values into which registers along the way. Petzold knows that the hidden language of computers exhibits real beauty. In Code, he helps readers appreciate it. --David Wall

Topics covered: Mechanical and electrical representations of words and numbers, number systems, logic gates, performing mathematical operations with logic gates, microprocessors, machine code, memory and programming languages. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Charles Petzold wrote the classic Programming Windows®, which is currently in its fifth edition and one of the best-known and widely used programming books of all time. He was honored in 1994 with the Windows Pioneer Award, presented by Microsoft® founder Bill Gates and Windows Magazine. He has been programming with Windows since first obtaining a beta Windows 1.0 SDK in the spring of 1985, and he wrote the very first magazine article on Windows programming in 1986. Charles is an MVP for Client Application Development and the author of several other books including Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
You're 10 years old. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read Sept. 24 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For someone who knew pieces of the picture, but not the history nor the foundation, this was a great read. The author had a thorough way of illustrating and building on each concept. It really was a pleasure to read.

I'd recommend this book to anyone curious about how computers came to be designed the way they are.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book of this Type Dec 12 2003
By M. R.
As a hobbyist programmer, I had wondered for years how a computer worked at its most internal level. I had even had a couple of unsuccessful encounters with other "How Computers Work"-type books that left me mainly with the dissatisfied impression that the machine was an impenetrable black box.
Petzold's book was not like this. While other books started with flashy graphics of internal designs all flowcharts with little in the way of explanation, Code starts off simply, with two flashlights and the goal of communicating at night. This problem, of course, would be easy solved by anyone who knows of Morse code. Yet, from Petzold's pen it becomes an illuminating and amusing journey with attempts to deal with similar scenarios of every increasing complexity until I realized two-thirds of the way through that given a sufficient time and space, I could, at least in theory, build a computer. This is the greatest success of Code, in my opinion. Rather than attempting to peel away the mysteries of the system a layer at a time like an onion, it delves directly to the core and builds upon its ideas in a fashion like that of the original computer designers, until everything forms into a cohesive whole. Petzold does an excellent job of capturing his excitement for the material, making the progressive developments a joy to read about.
With my uneven background knowledge, there were a few sections that I felt that I could skim through, but also many a passage that I had to carefully scrutinize. Overall, I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in computers, from beginner to expert: Petzold provides enough explanation for a determined newcomer to understand all of the concepts, but enough breadth to still entertain and educate those with more experience in the area.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! March 28 2011
This book is very good and a great read for anyone who wants to learn about the inner workings of their computers. I am studying to be a software engineer and I am often disappointed by my shortcomings when it comes to the low level aspects of engineering. This book is a very good place for me to start catching up.

It is very well written and extremely enjoyable.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Intro to EE Aug. 11 2010
By Marc
That is what the title should have been. I feel like I've taken a course in Electrical Engineering. Not exactly what I was expecting but really fun and educational. He literally builds a computer from the ground up. He starts with a switch and a light bulb and by the end you have a computer. It is really that simple (but phenomenally complex!!!).

The author is just wonderful. He does seem to repeat himself a bit, and I did find myself skimming a couple pages after I understood something enough for my tastes, but that could be just me. His use of illustrations is just the best. Most authors get lazy and try to put everything in writing. This author tries to convey as much information in the diagrams as possible, but while still keeping them so clear. Extremely useful! Sometimes you can just look at the diagram and understand without even needing to read the text! An illiterate could almost come out knowing how a computer works.

The book is long and thorough. Be prepared to learn it all. But if you're the type that wants that understanding, you will get it. Everything is built on first principles so you will have a solid understanding. Every computer programmer should know this stuff.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to know exactly what a computer does? Nov. 2 2003
It's not often I willingly give money to Microsoft, but I bought this book in hardcover. I don't care if Petzold is a hardcore Windows guy or not; this book is as deserving of immortality as the Lions book or "Godel, Escher, Bach".
Why? Because it lays it all out. Though it goes a bit light on the actual electronics, preferring to focus on the telegraph relay as its main way of understanding what's going on, this book takes the reader from square one -- sending messages to a friend with a flashlight -- to the structure of a modern microprocessor. It's an incredibly detailed yet easily accessible look at the internals of a computer system.
Flaws? A couple -- no index, and as I said it gives short shrift to what may be the single biggest invention of the 20th century, the transistor. But by and large Petzold has written the ultimate book to explain the mysteries of the computer to the layperson. This book is a must-buy.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sept. 18 2003
As a merchant marine officer for many years I always enjoyed using a sextant and calculating some formulas to determine my position on the face of the earth to within a half mile. It just seemed like magic until one day I sat down and really thought about what was happening when I used a sextant and calculated these formulas, and finally it all made sense. I could see how there was a logical method to what initially seemed like magic. This book will reveal a similar enlightenment to the reader who feels that computers are magic (as I did). My only beef is that the book did not have a comprehensive index. That would have certainly been a big plus because I can see myself referring to this book in the future. Also, I kept waiting for an explanation of how a million transistors can fit onto a single silicon chip and it never came. Guess I'll have to find another book to explain that bit of "magic". But I recommend the book for anyone, neophyte or professional.
Was this review helpful to you?
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good
The books starts off great, but later drowns in tedious details about the construction of complex circuits. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent
The book is super new and the delivery was too fast
Published on Aug. 6 2003 by Sameer Alzouby
5.0 out of 5 stars CODE: Simply the greatest book on the face of the earth!
Yes, that's right! CODE is the greatest book on the face of the earth!
Why? Here's my story, and go judge for yourself.
I'm using computers for around four years. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2003 by john
3.0 out of 5 stars Got bored 1/3 of the way through.
This book comes at computers from a very low level approach, much as an electrical engineer or an ASM programmer would look at a computer. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Sickness23
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for filling in knowledge gaps
This is a great read for anyone who, like myself, is involved with computers, but never took computer science classes. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2003 by AK
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best yet good reading for the target audience.
This is the book you would give to your manager and cohorts (non-technically inclined) to know more about the basics for computing. Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2002 by Supriyo B. Chatterjee
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but it's not ALL for a "Novice"
The book starts out very solid, describing all the building blocks of a computer. The beginning is the best book I've seen so far describings everything from the binary system to... Read more
Published on July 25 2002 by Boris S
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category