Computer Programs and Their Development
Computers are used in nearly every facet of human activity in today’s society. Computer programs are written to solve problems, educate, entertain, communicate, and wide variety of additional applications. Operating system and application software must be written to make efficient use of the vast computing power the hardware components are capable of providing. As with any system development process, a methodical and logical approach for developing computer programs will increase the efficiency and applicability of the final products.
A computer consists of five fundamental hardware components (Venit and Drake, 2003). The central processing unit (CPU) is essentially the brain of the machine, which performs the tasks—both mathematical and logical—assigned by the software and directs the rest of the hardware component’s operations. Next, the internal memory, also called primary memory, stores the information currently in use and the instructions to be carried out by the CPU. The mass storage devices, or secondary memory, house the operating system and application programs and data. Finally, input devices such as keyboards and mice are used to transfer data into the system, while output devices such as monitors and printers are used to export data from the systems. The computer is of little use without the software that gives it instruction.
The two classes of software are system and applications software. System software is used to control the overall actions of the computer and can be thought of as an intermediary between the hardware and applications software. Applications software are programs that are written to solve the user’s problems and accomplish specific tasks. Both types of software reside on a mass storage device and are brought into primary memory when in use. Software is written in specific languages in order to communicate with the CPU.
Three basic types of programming languages exist to...