Friday, May 16, 2008

What exactly is coding? Basic Principle of coding

Coding is converting the software design into programs (executable instructions) for the computer involve several steps such as : define the problem, identify input, output, design algorithm, develop flowchart, pseudo code, code the program, test the program, debug the program and document the program. An algorithm is a formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem. To be an algorithm, a set of rules must be unambiguous and have a clear stopping point. Algorithms can be expressed in any language, from natural languages like English or French to programming languages like QBASIC. We use algorithms every day. For example, a recipe for baking a cake is an algorithm. Pseudo-code is a cryptic English-like narrative of the program logic. It is an outline of a program or algorithm, written in a form that can easily be converted into real programming statements - yet is not written in programming statements. A flow chart is defined as a pictorial representation describing a procedure. Flow charts provide people with a common language or reference point.

But programming cannot be entirely learnt from books. Only experience can teach programming, says Vijay Mukhi, IT trainer. Hence when choosing a team for a project, it is advisable to choose programmers who have sufficient experience in that programming language. Ravindra Bhagwat, delivery owner, Patni Computer Systems says that while coding it is important to keep in mind the maintainability of the code. Hence documentation, naming conventions, not using hard coded values are important. It is important to reuse components that have been created. Convert your programs into objects. Bhagwat says that programming should be modular and there needs to be a flow of statements with similar statements grouped together. It is a good idea to share debugging errors as this prevents defects points out Bhagawat.

It is important to follow the guidelines of the parent organisation and/or client, says Sanjay Patil, deputy general manager, Syntel India. It is important to review the code and share the results with team members for maximum benefit. It is a good idea to use tools for coding and review. The best practices guidelines must be used for creating a well structured code.

Coding should normally be split into more than one part or modules and the link between the modules can be derived after performing “normalisation” which is a part of System Analysis & Design, advises Jitendra Nair, VP, Karrox Technologies. Each module must be supported by reference details like programmer’s name, data, name of module, referred links to other modules or the names of calling objects. The entire coding must follow the standard methods to declare and call the variables.

Each control statement and other parts of codes must be commented by the way they are called, brief on what those objects perform etc. This makes the debugging, error trapping possible and makes it easier if the programmer for a module is replaced the another who can understand the code soon.

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