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An introduction to the computer program design process.

Topic introduction

Program Design consists of the steps a programmer should do before they start coding the program in a specific language. These steps when properly documented will make the completed program easier for other programmers to maintain in the future. There are three broad areas of activity:

  • Understanding the Program
  • Using Design Tools to Create a Model
  • Develop Test Data

Understanding the program

If you are working on a project as a one of many programmers, the system analyst may have created a variety of documentation items that will help you understand what the program is to do. These could include screen layouts, narrative descriptions, documentation showing the processing steps, etc. If you are not on a project and you are creating a simple program you might be given only a simple description of the purpose of the program. Understanding the purpose of a program usually involves understanding it's:

  • Inputs
  • Processing
  • Outputs

This IPO approach works very well for beginning programmers. Sometimes, it might help to visualize the programming running on the computer. You can imagine what the monitor will look like, what the user must enter on the keyboard and what processing or manipulations will be done.

Using design tools to create a model

At first you will not need a hierarchy chart because your first programs will not be complex. But as they grow and become more complex, you will divide your program into several modules (or functions).

The first modeling tool you will usually learn is pseudocode . You will document the logic or algorithm of each function in your program. At first, you will have only one function, and thus your pseudocode will follow closely the IPO approach above.

There are several methods or tools for planning the logic of a program. They include: flowcharting, hierarchy or structure charts, pseudocode, HIPO, Nassi-Schneiderman charts, Warnier-Orr diagrams, etc. Programmers are expected to be able to understand and do flowcharting and pseudocode. These methods of developing the model of a program are usually taught in most computer courses. Several standards exist for flowcharting and pseudocode and most are very similar to each other. However, most companies have their own documentation standards and styles. Programmers are expected to be able to quickly adapt to any flowcharting or pseudocode standards for the company at which they work. The others methods that are less universal require some training which is generally provided by the employer that chooses to use them.

Later in your programming career, you will learn about using applications software that helps create an information system and/or programs. This type of software is called Computer-aided Software Engineering.

Understanding the logic and planning the algorithm on paper before you start to code is very important concept. Many students develop poor habits and skipping this step is one of them.

Develop test data

Test data consists of the user providing some input values and predicting the outputs. This can be quite easy for a simple program and the test data can be used to check the model to see if it produces the correct results.

Definitions

IPO
Inputs - Processing - Outputs
pseudocode
English-like statements used to convey the steps of an algorithm or function.
test data
Providing input values and predicting the outputs.

Questions & Answers

Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
NANO
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Programming fundamentals - a modular structured approach using c++. OpenStax CNX. Jan 10, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10621/1.22
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