How to Make a Computer Program Level of difficulty:
Computer programming or sometimes referred to as coding or programming is essentially the process of creating codes, testing it, troubleshooting, and executing it in order to address a specific problem or requirement based on a standard development language. The main code itself which the programming language reads, interprets, and executes is what is referred to as the source code and may be in either human- or machine-readable form. Regardless of the chosen programming language, a commonality which exists in all computer programs includes the input (provided by the user or retrieved from other sources like databases), the output (result of processing the input data by applying computations), math (the basic processing of the instruction set), conditional execution (launches based on preset conditions that must be present), and repetition (processing different data in similar manner with minimal variation) commands which all dictate how the computer program will behave. The manner of making a computer program usually requires a degree of expertise in the field of formal logic, application domain, and specialized algorithms. Materials Needed:
- text editor
- Web browser
- Internet connection
- programming language IDE
- pen and paper
Making the computer program code itself depends primarily on the chosen programming or development language to be applied. However, the first step to making any simple or complex computer program is to analyze the problem at hand. This means identifying the given, looking for the constants, assigning variables, and understanding what is required. This is just like solving any mathematical problem.
The next step is to create a program flow model. Many programmers believe that flowcharting is a lost art. Unfortunately, for people that are serious in becoming competent programmers, flowchart knowledge and skills are a must. Take a pen and paper and create an outline on how the program should execute. At this point, there is no way to test whether this process will function correctly; this will be done at the latter stages.
During the flowchart process, assign the necessary variables, implement the constants, and visualize how the input data will be processed in order to arrive at an output that provides the solution for the problem requirement. This should all be done in paper.
When finished with flowcharting or laying out the program design, choose a programming language. If you currently have none installed, open the Web browser and go to the address http://www.microsoft.com/express/product/default.aspx where you can download useful development languages.
Install the programming language into the machine and search for additional references on the Internet to help you create codes for your chosen language.
At this point, it is time to translate the flowchart into a source code. Generally, all programming languages function the same way. The main difference is in the way the commands are coded and executed. This difference is also known as syntax. Implement the program flow by creating a source code based on the command syntax of the chosen programming language.
The implementation portion requires a compiler which normally is downloaded together with the programming language. Open the compiler and load your source code. Compile it. This is where the source code is being translated into a form that the machine can understand and process.
Once compiled, execute the computer program. This is where the flowchart process will be tested. This stage is normally referred to as debugging or troubleshooting. At this point, all bugs and loopholes will be identified and corrected.
Edit the source code to correct errors in the program flow. Repeat Step 7 and Step 8 until satisfied with the program execution.