How to Structure Your Programming Code

How to Structure Your Programming Code

I remember my first fumble with basic on my ZX Spectrum computer back in the 1980s, ploughing through pages of basic commands and example code without any real idea of how I could write programs myself

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I remember my first fumble with basic on my ZX Spectrum computer back in the 1980s, ploughing through pages of basic commands and example code without any real idea of how I could write programs myself. It was like reading a dictionary where I could learn certain words and their meanings with limited information on how I could construct them into entire sentences to write a document. Every programmer who has dabbled in basic has probably come across the famous “Hello Word” routine which consists of a two-line program that prints this phrase unlimited times on the screen.

Your program code needs to be written as step-by-step instructions using the commands that your choice of programming language understands. It means reading your programming manual to learn which commands you need to use for what you want your program to do. In the “Hello World” example you would first need a command that prints “Hello World” onto the screen, and then you would need a second command to print it again multiple times, without writing multiple print statements.

Check out this example. To make things simple I am using old-school basic with line numbers — probably because I’m a retro-freak.

10 print “Hello World”

20 goto 10

The best structure for writing any program code is to make it clear and easy to follow. Some programmers put multiple commands on one line which can make your code difficult to follow if you are trying to iron out bugs. Spreading your code over multiple lines actually makes the program work better and becomes more readable.

Another recommended practice is to separate each part of your program code using REM Statements. REM (short for Remark) allows you to put comments before each section of code to remind you what each part does. This is especially useful if you wish to edit your code at a later date.

10 rem Set Up Variables

20 let A=1: let B=2

30 rem ***

40 rem Print Variables to Screen

50 rem ***

60 print A,B

Anything after the REM command is ignored by the computer and you can use as many REM statements as you want to make bigger gaps in your code for easy reading. Other programming languages allow you to use blank lines or indent the first line of the routine.

Now I will show you how to structure the entire program code. Remember that the computer needs to follow step-by-step instructions so you need to write each instruction in the order you want it to run.

code coding software-development programming-tips programming

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