The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Technical Transport Problems

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Technical Transport continued TRANSPORTABLE BASIC (ACT Technical Bulletin No.

*Programs should be modularized to improve explanation of program logic and to
seriously reduce both original errors and transfer checkout problems.

*Use of structured programming techniques is strongly recommended. This approach
reduces program complexity and increases readability by other persons.

*Explicit references to system specific features, such as a unit number for read
or write, should be replaced by a meaningful variable name sothat such
parameters can be readily initializedat a new site with system specific values.

* Verifiability should be built-in to the program as much as possible so that
out-of-range input data can be filtered out; calculation flukes can be caught,
displayed, and bypassed; and intermediate results can be output upon request.
Also present should be sample input and the subsequent computer results as well
as computer-independent calculations for validating problematic algorithms.

* The last recommendation covered in the guidelines is completeness of
documentation. Internal program documentation should comment program name,
source, date, language, machine, operating system, core requirements, overall
function, usage and options, important variables and parameters, and any
references to
external files, routines, etc. Every separate module should be commented
similarly. The net effort is to make the program itself as technically
well-documented as possible, the goal being ease of program readability by a
programmer at another, remote installation.

Implicit in CONDUlT'S strategy of improving programs at the source is the need
for author incentives and rewards and a redistribution of resources to cover a
possible increase in development costs. As CONDUIT is an experiment, it is hoped
that cost-benefit analysis will justify transfer programming, and that
mechanisms for program dissemination will permit cost recovery, promote authors'
prestige and ultimately facilitate innovative usage of computer-based curriculum
materials in the classroom.


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