Thanks for following the article! I’ll be sure detail the state of the blockchain at each step in later articles.
getCount doesn’t consume gas, because it is a “view only” function. In saying that, the function doesn’t alter the state of the blockchain; it simply views the blockchain…
I may be biased but I think https://medium.com/crypto-currently/build-your-first-smart-contract-fc36a8ff50ca?source=linkShare-22bbbf10758e-1516849880 could be a decent resource on how to write smart contracts. 😉
To answer your first question, the smart contract is executed before it’s added to the blockchain, but its operations aren’t confirmed until after it’s been added to the blockchain (i.e. the contract creation transaction is confirmed).