The Software Development Process

The process of creating a program is often broken down into stages according to the information that is produced in each phase. In a nutshell, here's what you should do.

Formulate Requirements Figure out exactly what the problem to be solved is. Try to understand as much as possible about it. Until you really know what the problem is, you cannot begin to solve it.

Determine Specifications Describe exactly what your program will do. At this point, you should not worry about how your program will work, but rather with deciding exactly what it will accomplish. For simple programs this involves carefully describing what the inputs and outputs of the program will be and how they relate to each other.

Create a Design Formulate the overall structure of the program. This is where the how of the program gets worked out. The main task is to design the algorithm(s) that will meet the specifications.

Implement the Design Translate the design into a computer language and put it into the computer. In this book, we will be implementing our algorithms as Python programs.

Test/Debug the Program Try out your program and see if it works as expected. If there are any errors (often called bugs), then you should go back and fix them. The process of locating and fixing errors is called debugging a program.

Maintain the Program Continue developing the program in response to the needs of your users. Most programs are never really finished; they keep evolving over years of use.

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