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What does software programming involve?

Answer: Computer programmers write programs for computers, using computers. Typically, they use programs such as Borland C++ Builder or Microsoft Visual C++ that provide a graphical interface for building the software. Programmers create programs by writing "code" in a certain programming language. Most of today's programs are written in C++, but other languages such as Java and Basic are also used.

Large programs are created by a joint effort of several programmers. For example, one programmer might work on building the graphical interface, while another works on writing the code to handle user input. Several other programmers on the team may be needed to work on other functions.

Whether the programmers use C++, Java, Basic, or another programming language, an application program interface (API) provides a set of commands that allows the programmer to interact with the computer's operating system. This makes it easier for programmers to create programs for various computer systems. It also benefits the user since all programs developed using the same API have a similar-looking interface.

A program may include anywhere from a few hundred lines to hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Once the program has been written, it is compiled, which is the process of turning the lines of code into a runnable program. The program that compiles the code is creatively called a "compiler" and is usually part of the programming software. The compiler takes the source code and turns it into "machine language," which the computer's processor can understand. The result is a program that you can double-click and run on your computer.

Published: May 16, 2005 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center