The computer is basically a problem solving tool. Once it is properly provided with a valid program, the computer becomes self-operational, that is, it requires no human intervention during processing. To use this tool effectively, the programmer usually has to perform the following set of well-defined steps:.
- Defining the problem.
- Planning a solution to the problem.
- Coding the solution.
- Checking out the program by debugging and testing.
These five steps are generally performed in sequence. Definition is basic to planning a solution. Programming must be followed by debugging and testing. Developing a successful program may involve some amount of rethinking on reworking earlier prepared steps. Documentation is a vital step which must be a continuing one. It must be concise, complete and accurate.
Defining the Problem .
The task of problem definition is one of making sure what has to be done or what problem has to be solved. A careful analysis of that need should involve both prospective users of the information and one or more trained systems designers or programmers, who can perceive the full nature of the information need and how the computer can be used to respond to it. This is obvious since a programmer cannot begin to work toward a solution without first understanding the problem. Once the problem has been defined, programmers must begin to deal with the particular step that might be taken to solve it. The overall problem or objectives must be broken down or redefined into a series of related problems that are more limited in scope. Also, the programmer must know exactly what the program is supposed to do before it is written. Often, errors in program testing reflect the definer's lack of understanding in some aspects of the program. All aspects of the program that need clarification should be thoroughly examined during this stage of the program development.
Planning the Solution .