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Computing Higher Software Development Glossary


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Structured listing
Program listing clearly showing the modules involved complete with commentary and meaningful variable and procedure names.
Software development environment
The high level language programming environment that offers tools and techniques to design and implement a software solution.
An argument of a procedure or function that represents a local variable.
Procedural language
Also known as imperative languages because the programs follow a sequence of steps until they terminate. The code is made up of procedures and functions.
Problem specification
A document outline of what is to be solved in terms of programming a solution to a given problem.
A data item that can be manipulated by a computer system, for example a database record or a file.
Traditional model
An alternative name for the waterfall model that details the seven stages of program development.
Jackson Structured Programming
A diagrammatic design method for small programs that focuses on sequence, selection and iteration.
Acceptance testing
Testing of software outside the development organisation and usually at the client site.
Software development process
A series of stages involving defined methods to produce a software project according to an initial specification.
Boundary testing
Running a program with test data that represents the extreme upper and lower values. Within this range the program should operate normally.
Functional specification
This will detail how the developed program will behave under specified conditions.
Syntax means structure or grammar of a statement in a given language
Refinement of code to make it more efficient.
Running a program with test data to ensure a program is reliable and robust.
Event driven
A system that responds to an external event such as mouse click or a key press.
Internal documentation
The use of comments within source code to describe what it does.
Legal contract
A contract set up between client and development team, the details of which are set out in the requirements specification which becomes legally binding should anything go wrong.
Trace facility
A method used to debug a program by tracing the change in values of the variables as the program is run.
Lexical analysis
Part of the compilation process where the source code is tokenised into symbols and stored in the symbol table.
Problem oriented
The focus is on the problem and how it is to be solved rather than on the hardware on which the program will run.
Module library
A module library includes code for standard algorithms that can be re-used by programmers.
An organised and structured collection of related data.
Value parameter
Here a copy of the actual parameter is passed in to the formal parameter. Information is passed IN to the procedure form the main program.
The sharing of characteristics between a class of object and a newly created sub class. This allows code re-use by extending an existing class.
Declarative language
Programmers use this type of language to specify what the problem is rather than how to solve it by writing code. The language uses facts and rules to express relationships.
Development team
Generic description of the personnel involved in developing the software solution.
Parameter passing
The mechanism by which data is passed to and from procedures and the main program.
Test plan
A strategy that involves testing software under verifying conditions and inputs.
The ability of a program to run on different machine architectures with different operating systems.
Desk checking
Akin to a dry run where the running of a program is checked without a computer.
Object-oriented language
An object-oriented computer language like Java that uses objects rather than actions and data rather than logic. An object is represented by a class that can be extended to involve inheritance.
Special purpose language
Languages designed for specific tasks such as prolog for artificial intelligence or C for writing operating systems.
Bottom-up design
A method of program refinement that starts with individual modules and builds them up into a complete program.
An activity that is performed by a piece of software,
A language designed by Sun Microsystems. The language is portable because Java interpreters are available for a wide range of platforms.
A block of code that, when called from within a program will perform a specific action.
Test log
A record of how a program responds to various inputs.
Reference parameter
Here the address of the actual parameter is accessed by the formal parameter. Information is passed OUT from the procedure to the main program.
General purpose language
The language can be used to program solutions covering a broad range of situations.
A program that translates a high level program line by line, which it then tries to execute. No independent object code is produced.
Event driven language
An event driven language that is designed to handle external events like interrupts, mouse clicks etc
Human computer interface
Allows the program to interact with the outside world. The interface is the only part of the program that users see.
Joining of Visual Basic string variables to make longer strings using the '&' operator.
A block of code like a procedure but a value is returned when the function is used.
A document outlining the program requirements set by the client.
Test data
Data that is used to test whether software works properly and that it is reliable and robust.
A program that translates a complete high level language program into an independent machine code program.
A looping system where information is fed back in to a computer system. Previous output becomes new input.
Requirements specification
A document describing what the system must be able to do in order to meet user requirements.
A program is robust if it can cope with problems that come from outside and are not of its own making.
The upkeep of a program by repair and modification.
Systems analyst
The person responsible for analysing and determining whether a task is suitable for pursuit using a computer. They are also responsible for the design of the computer systems.
A notation combining natural language and code used to represent the detailed logic of a program i.e. algorithmic notation.
Alpha testing
Testing of software within the development organisation.
A technique involving various notations that enables the design of software to be implemented.
Stepwise refinement
Similar to top-down design of sectioning a large and complex system into smaller and more easily manageable components.
A process that repeats itself a finite number of times or until a certain condition is met.
Machine code
Native computer code that can be understood without translation.
Software engineering
A sphere of computing where the emphasis is on the development of high quality, cost effective software produced on schedule and within agreed costs.
Unusual user activity
Running a program with exceptional data.
Exhaustive testing
Complete testing of a program under every conceivable condition. An expensive method time-wise.
Structured data
Data that is organised in some way, for example an array or database.
Standard algorithm
An algorithm that appears over and over again in many programs. Also called common algorithms.
Internal commentary
The use of comments within source code to describe what it does.
Intermediate code
A form of compiled code that is specifically produced for a target computer.
Scripting language
Used for writing small programs or scripts that enhances existing software. The best example is JavaScript which is used to enhance web pages.
Top-down design
A design approach of sectioning a large and complex system into smaller and more easily manageable components.
Replication of a process by computer that would not be possible to do manually. For example studying the projected traffic analysis of an airport or throwing a die many hundreds of times.
Source code
The code for a program written in a high level language. This code is then translated into machine code.
The person or group that initiates the development process by specifying a problem .
A program is reliable if it runs well and is never brought to a halt by a design flaw.
Object oriented design
A method that centres on objects and the operations that can be performed on them.
Normal operation
Running of a program under expected normal conditions.
Corrective maintenance
Correction of previously undetected errors during development that is now apparent after installation of the software on the client site.
Technical guide
Documentation intended for people using a system containing information on how to install software and details system requirements such as processor, memory and backing storage.
This is produced by JavaScript and is a form of machine code that runs under the Java virtual environment. The latter is freeware and enables any computer to run Java programs
Programming team
A section of the development team responsible for the coding, testing, implementation and maintenance of the software.
Rapid Application Development. An alternative software development model that uses event driven languages for its implementation.
Functional language
A language that utilises the evaluation of expressions rather than the execution of commands. It is based on the use of functions from which new functions can be created.
Unstructured information. A collection of numeric or alphanumeric characters which can be processed by a computer. Raw data is meaningless to people.
Semantics is the meaning of a statement in a given language.
The detection, location and removal of errors in a program.
Executable code
Independent machine code that can be run without translation.
High-level language
A language designed to be easily understood by programmers. They use commands and instructions based on English words or phrases.
Project manager
A member of the development team who is responsible for the supervision of the project. The main tasks are to keep the project on schedule and within budget.
Independent test group
Testing of software by a group out with the development team.
A temporary addition to a program used to assist with the testing process.
Perfective maintenance
Takes place when a system has to be enhanced in some way e.g. program run faster.
A programming technique that is iterative in that a procedure or function can call itself. It is very demanding of computer memory.
Explicit declaration
Each variable, for example is declared unambiguously by the user so there is much less room for error in running programs Visual basic.
Data modeling
A process used in object oriented languages that identifies objects, how they relate to one another and their manipulation.
A reserved word with a special meaning in a computer language. For example for, if, dim in Visual Basic.
Fit for purpose
The finished program runs to specification and is robust and reliable.
Structured Analysis and Design Model. An alternative to the waterfall model that deals only with the analysis and design phases of software development.
Systems developer
Another name for a systems analyst.
Waterfall model
One of the earliest models for software development that incorporates 7 stages from analysis to implementation and maintenance.
A detailed sequence of steps which, when followed, will accomplish a task.
Exceptions testing
Testing the robustness of a program by entering silly data - character data instead of numeric data, excessive values etc.
Symbol table
Part of the compilation process where the tokens created by the lexical analysis phase are stored.
Structure charts
A diagrammatic method of designing a solution to solve a software problem.
A block of code that automates a repetitive task. Rather like a batch file they are normally created within an application then run by activating a key press combination or clicking on an icon.
Systems specification
An indication of the hardware and software required to run the developed program effectively. It will be the basis of subsequent stages which prepare a working program.
Linear search
A standard algorithm that perform a sequential search on a list of data items.
A bug is a program error.
User guide
A document intended for people using a system containing information on how to use the software.
Implicit declaration
If a variable, for example is not fully declared by the user then it is given default attributes by the Visual Basic language.
An iterative process is one that incorporates feedback and involves an element of repetition.
Dry run
A pen and paper exercise to debug a program.
Beta testing
Testing of software outside the development organisation using clients or selected members of the public.
Adaptive maintenance
Takes place when a program's environment changes, for example a different operating system.

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