Whatever be the approach to the software development, the program must finally satisfy some fundamental properties; bearing them in mind while programming reduces the costs in terms of time and/or money due to debugging, further development and user support. Although quality programming can be achieved in a number of ways, following five properties are among the most relevant:
- Efficiency: it is referred to the system resource consumption (computer processor, memory, slow devices, networks and to some extent even user interaction) which must be the lowest possible.
- Reliability: the results of the program must be correct, which not only implies a correct code implementation but also reduction of error propagation (e.g. resulting from data conversion) and prevention of typical errors (overflow, underflow or zero division).
- Robustness: a program must anticipate situations of data type conflict and all other incompatibilities which result in run time errors and stop of the program. The focus of this aspect is the interaction with the user and the handling of error messages.
- Portability: it should work as it is in any software and hardware environment, or at least without relevant reprogramming.
- Readability: the purpose of the main program and of each subroutine must be clearly defined with appropriate comments and self explanatory chose of symbolic names (constants, variables, function names, classes, and methods).
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