Computer Programming StagesAuthor : Pandu Ranga Rao N
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Before going to understand programming concepts, one has to understand what the program does. It is a well known fact that, a program is a set of instructions that performs a particular task. In other words, a program is set of codes which perform action on what it instructed to do. An instruction has got its own pre-defined responsibilities to be carried on inside a computer system.

Computer programming is the process of designing, writing, testing, debugging and maintaining the program instructions. In a computer, the programs are written in many computer languages. Computer languages are like the languages, which one uses to communicate with each other.

In spoken languages, we have to follow some rules and convey what we think, in an understandable form. Like the languages, which we use to speak, computer languages also have a particular set of syntax and meanings. These are to be followed before writing a program.

Before we write any program, we should think, analyze, and build a meaningful logic for program. We cut the vegetables into pieces, before we cook them for our daily food. In the same way, we have to work on the logic first, which creates a good program. After this process is completed, we will try to implement the worked out logic in to a nice program.

In a systematic software development environment, once a customer gives required inputs as well as the desired outputs, one cannot just directly start developing the software. First of all, one has to plan how they are going to write a program. It requires studying the step by step analysis of solutions for the problems which may occur at the time of program development.

Technically speaking, one must first write algorithms, flowcharts for the understood problem area to find solutions. In a systematic development environment, they follow these steps before start developing the desired or required software for their customers. This helps the programmer to understand the problem and solution to the problem area, before writing the actual program.

The programmer then develops the required program in the way, which is specified in the flowchart and algorithms. All these steps are necessary, because if a programmer from the team quits, then, any other can easily take his place and continue developing the software. It even helps the team to quickly analyze the program, if it has to be upgraded with some new enhancements or correcting some errors with the software, if found any, at the later stage, during implementation.

Algorithm is a list of systematic instructions for solving a given problem. The instructions given in the algorithm are of simple English. The algorithm is the instructional representation of solution to a given problem.

The Flowchart is more specific than algorithm. As the name itself indicates, a flowchart is a pictorial representation of the solution to the given problem. When the problem is given to a programmer, first he analyses the problem, finds solution and then studies the complexity of converting it into software program. If he finds the complexity is too high in such a way that, no programmer in his team, can handle such complexity, easily, he will opt for writing a flow chart also, along with the algorithm.

Software programs are developed using many programming languages, especially now days. Earlier, it was written using machine language, which was a tedious language to understand. The machine language comprised of instructions that are made up of 0’s and 1’s.

The complexity of the language led to the invention of a better language called Assembly language. This significantly improved the quality of the programs and also the understandability of the programs. This language was written using code words called mnemonics. However people found difficulty in understanding these code words too.

This led to the development of a newer version of language called as higher level language. The format of this language was simple to understand and write. So, people started learning and went on inventing many programming languages on this higher level language.

Today, the majority of the programs were developed using any one of the higher level languages. The programmer should know the syntax of the language and the different concepts related to the language, before he could easily manage with the language.

Once he codes for a program, the program will get tested. There are several ways to test the developed software. In this stage, if any problem is found then, the programmer will correct the problems and resubmit it for testing again. This process will go on until the software works to its level best, before it being installed in the client’s place.

Thus, programming is not an easy task. But, still we can make it easy n’ sweet like chocolate ice cream, if we could study the programming logic very well.

Author : Pandu Ranga Rao N
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