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Software is a detailed set of instructions that tell the computer what to do. There are numerous examples where we, as humans, follow a set of such instructions. As a simple example, many pieces of furniture from IKEA come with a set of high-level instructions in the form of pictures. When creating these instructions, the people at IKEA assume a certain level of basic knowledge of how to use tools, such as a wrench, a screwdriver, a hammer, and so forth. But using each of these tools could be broken down into simpler steps. Using a hammer could be broken down into grip the hammer by the handle, hold the nail perpendicular to the surface, tap the nail with the head of the hammer to get it started, then hit the nail harder, and so forth. Once you understand the steps involved in using a hammer, you can apply your hammer skills any time a set of instructions calls for you to use one, without having to worry about the details. Creating detailed “low-level” descriptions of steps (like how to use a hammer) is very similar to the way that software is built. In this chapter, you learn how to create these types of software groupings.
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