|< Day Day Up >|
How Programs Work
Most computer programs are written in the same way that you write a letteróby typing each statement into a word processor. Some programming tools come with their own word processor, and others can be used with any text-editing software. If you don't already have a tool that can be used for Java programming, you can use the free Java Development Kit, which you will learn about later in this hour, with any of your favorite editors.
When you have finished writing a computer program, you save the file just like saving any other document to disk. Computer programs often have their own filename extension to indicate what type of file they are. Java programs have the extension .java; an example of a Java program filename is Calculator.java.
To run a program you have saved as a file, you need some help. The kind of help that's needed depends on the programming language you're using. Some languages require an interpreter to run their programs. The interpreter is a program that interprets each line of a computer program and tells the computer what to do. Most versions of BASIC are interpreted languages. The advantage of interpreted languages is that they are faster to test. When you are writing a BASIC program, you can try it out immediately, spot any errors, fix them, and try again. The primary disadvantage is that interpreted languages run more slowly than other programs.
Other programming languages require a compiler. The compiler takes a computer program and translates it into a form that the computer can understand. It also does what it can to make the program run as efficiently as possible. The compiled program can be run directly, without the need for an interpreter. Compiled programs run more quickly than interpreted programs, but they take more time to test. You have to write your program and compile it before trying it out. If you find an error and fix it, you must compile the program again to verify that the error is gone.
|< Day Day Up >|