Lesson 14 Introduction to Programming

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AOIT Principles of Information Technology

Lesson 14

Introduction to Programming

Student Resources

Resource

Description

Student Resource 14.1

Reading: Introduction to Computer Code

Student Resource 14.2

Worksheet: Computer Code Defining Format

Student
Resource 14.3

Worksheet: How Programming Languages Work

Student Resource 14.4

Reading: How Programming Languages Work

Student Resource 14.5

Flowchart: Illustrating the Flow of Logic

Student Resource 14.6

Worksheet: Writing a JavaScript Program

Student
Resource 14.7

Reading: The Software Development Process

Student Resource 14.8

Poster: The
Software
Development Life Cycle


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Introduction to Programming

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Nat
ional Academy Foundation. All rights reserved.

Student Resource 14.1

Reading: Introduction to Computer Code

As you know, the number of tasks computers can perform often seems lim
itless. But computers aren’t
built knowing how to perform these tasks. In fact, computer hardware without software telling it how to
function isn’t of any use at all (unless what you need is a doorstop). Computers are stupid

they can do
only what we tell t
hem to do. You can see this firsthand any time you mistype an email address or URL.
One typo will keep your mail from being delivered or keep you from finding your favorite website.

The problem, then, is that people need to be able to give computers very d
etailed sets of instructions, but
the languages that people speak
(for example, English or Spanish)
are very different from the languages
that computers understand. A computer’s microprocessor can only understand instructions made up of 0s
and 1s. The earl
iest computer programming was done using a “language” of these numbers that the
computer could understand, but it was clear that it would be much easier for the people programming
computers if they could write instructions in something a bit more like huma
n language.

What Is Computer Code?

Computer code is a set of detailed instructions telling a computer’s CPU what to do.

Source code is the only type of code that is readable by humans. When you purchase software programs,
you usually receive them in their

machine
-
language format. This means that you can execute them
directly, but you cannot read or modify them.

A
programmer

writes code using a particular
programming language
. By “language” we don’t mean a
human language such as English. Instead, the term r
efers to any language that can be used to define a
sequence of instructions, or
commands
,

that can be translated for a computer to understand.

The form of a program written by the programmer is called
source code
. In other words, source code
consists of pr
ogram instructions in their original form
. It
is readable by human

programmers
.

Before the code can run, however, the
computer
must translate it into
machine code
, the language that
the computer understands. Machine code consists of a series of 0s and 1s
(also called
binary code
). That
is the only language that a computer understands! Programmers use utility programs called

interpreters

or

compilers

to translate source code into machine code.

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Introduction to Programming

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Student Resource 14.2

Worksheet: Computer Code Defining Format

S
tudent Names:









Date:




Directions:
Use the frame below to list the characteristics of the types of programs as described in
Student Resource 14.1, Reading: Introduction to Computer Code.
A
D
efining
F
ormat frame can help you
organize your thoughts a
bout a particular topic’s characteristics. An example is provided here.

Term

Category

Characteristics

Email

is a program that

1.

Lets users send messages over the Internet

2.

Delivers messages (“mail”) instantly

3.

Can send messages at any time of day



Term

Cat
egory

Characteristics

Source code

is a program that


1.


2.



Machine code

is a program that


1.


2.



A compiler

is a program that


1.


2.




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Introduction to Programming

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Student Resource 14.3

Worksheet: How Programming Languages Work

Student Name
:
________________________________
_____________________ Date:_____________

Directions: Use the following template to take notes on Student Resource 14.4, Reading: How
Programming Languages Work. There are
five
sections to the reading. After each section, write down the
three words that you

think will help you remember the most important information in that section. Then
move on to the next section and write three more words about that section. Continue this pattern with
each of the remaining sections. Based on your keywords, write a summary

in the bottom box that
includes the important points you observed for each of the sections. Remember that a summary is not a
rewrite of the article. Focus only on the key points you need to remember.

Introduction







Different Programming Languages


P
rogramming Methods






Choosing a Language



The Flow of a Program



Summary









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Introduction to Programming

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Student Resource 14.4

Reading: How Programming Languages Work

Introduction

Programming languages
enable
people
to
use familiar words and symbols to tell computers what

to do in
a way that the computers can understand. Just
as
a human language has its own grammar and
vocabulary,
so
each programming language has rules for writing commands
,

and special words and
symbols that do different things. If you want to write a prog
ram, you choose a programming language
(for
example, Python or Java)
and use its rules and grammar to write instructions, called
source code
, for the
computer. When you are finished, you use another piece of software to turn what you’ve written into
someth
ing the computer can understand. That software
can be either an
interpreter

or

a

compiler
.

Programming
, the process of creating computer code, can be compared to writing a cooking recipe.
Programs do for computers what recipes do for cooks
:
they organize d
ata and give instructions for
carrying out tasks. Sometimes, these instructions are simply a sequence of unchanging steps. At other
times, more complex methods are needed for doing analysis and arriving at decisions.

A typical program consists of a main

mo
dule and many submodules,
sometimes
called

functions

or

sub
routines
. These modules are stored as a collection of files. Large programs can contain thousands of
individual files, each with a specific purpose. These programs divide big problems into smaller

problems.
They operate quickly to solve all the smaller problems until the work adds up to one complete solution.

Different Programming Languages

There are many different kinds of programming languages. The higher
-
level a language is, the more it
resemble
s
a natural language like
English, and the less programmers
need to directly concern
themselves

with
the internal workings of the computer hardware.

Whether high level or low level, each language has its own set of detailed grammar, spacing, and
punctuati
on rules, just like the spoken languages that people use. These rules are called
syntax
. If one of
these rules is broken in the program code, the result is a
syntax error
, because the computer cannot
understand the instructions that were given.



The origina
l programming language,
machine language
, is the language that a computer’s
processor understands. A machine language consists of large sets of 0s and 1s.
Programming in
machine code
is not as common as it used to be
, but when you write code in a higher
-
le
vel
language, it is then turned into machine code by a compiler or

an

interpreter.



Assembler

is a
low
-
level language
. It uses letters and words instead of numbers in its code, but an
Assembler programmer still has to know a lot about how the computer’s har
dware works. Different
versions of Assembler are specific to different types of computers.



C

and
C++

are
sometimes called

mid
-
level languages
. These languages have more easily
understood terms that make the
programmer’s
job easier. In particular, C++ lets
programmers do
things
that are difficult

when using Assembler. A C or C++ programmer still needs to be aware of
things like how the computer’s memory stores numbers and data. These languages are popular in
part because they use a computer’s resources effic
iently.

They also have the advantage of being
able to run on many different kinds of processors.

Java
, Python,
C#, Visual Basic .NET
,
and
Perl are examples of the many
high
-
level programming
languages

available today
.
Mid
-

and high
-
level languages use
word
s and symbols to represent complex
concepts simply
. This allows a programmer to do more with less effort.
Mid
-

and high
-
level languages
also use familiar math symbols, like the plus and minus signs, to show computer operations. Programs
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Introduction to Programming

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created with high
-
l
evel languages can direct much more complex tasks than those created with low
-
level
languages. Some high
-
level languages serve a specific purpose, like creating graphics, while others are
very flexible and are considered general purpose. A programmer who n
eeds to write code that will work
well with several different operating systems may choose

Python or

Java
. Someone who needs a
language that is good at dealing with text may use
Perl
.

Programming Methods

Another way to classify programming languages is by
the methods they use to create the program code.
For example, the basic element of
procedure
-
oriented programming

is the “procedure” or sequence of
statements (also called a
routine
). Simply put, a procedural language tells the computer how a task is
done
using a step
-
by
-
step process. The earliest
high
-
level
computer languages (BASIC, COBOL, Pascal,
and so on) were all procedural.

Newer languages made a true break from procedure
-
oriented programming and are considered
nonprocedural. With nonprocedural langu
ages, a programmer defines only what he or she wants the
computer to do. It is not necessary to specify how the task should be done.

Object
-
oriented programming

is organized around “objects” rather than actions. Objects can represent
anything from human b
eings (described by names, addresses, and so on) to buildings, cars, icons on
your computer’s desktop, and so on. Object
-
oriented programming is focused on the objects the
programmer wants to manipulate rather than on the logic used to control them. Java
,
C#, Visual Basic

.NET,

and C++ are object
-
oriented languages.

Some languages, like Python, have both procedural and
object
-
oriented characteristics

and capabilities
, depending
o
n how they are used.

Choosing a La
n
guage

Choosing which programming language to

use is important. Every language has advantages and
disadvantages, so choosing the best language for a particular situation depends on a number of factors.
To begin, a programmer should ask questions like these:



What do you need the program to do? (What t
ype of process or problem are you facing?)



On what type of computer hardware will the program be run?



What kind of existing software needs to interact with the new program?



How experienced is the programmer?



How

steep


is the learning curve (that is, how
difficult would it be for someone not familiar with a
particular language to learn to use it effectively)?



How easy is it to make changes or find errors using a particular language?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to figure out
which language is the easiest,
most efficient, and/or the best suited for the job. For example, think about the following:



Fortran
,

a language for processing numerical data
,

doesn’t lend itself well to organizing large
programs.

Because of its limitations,

Fortran is almost never used for new computer software
development.



C++ is a powerful language that uses object
-
oriented features. It is also considered harder to learn
than some other languages.



Java is often used to create applications for websites tha
t will run on
the site

s web server.



Python

and Perl

are
easy
-
to
-
learn, general
-
purpose, high
-
level language
s

that also
have
sophisticated capabilities and can operate as both procedural and object
-
oriented language
s
.



Visual Basic .NET and C# are often use
d to develop programs for Windows
-
based computers
.

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Introduction to Programming

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The Flow of a Program

Prior to creating the actual source code, a programmer may “map” the program, or a portion of it, by
writing an
algorithm

(an instruction or set of instructions explaining how to solv
e a problem) and
by
illustrating it
using a
flowchart
. A flowchart is a diagram that uses graphical symbols to illustrate the flow
of steps in a process.

The following symbols are commonly used in flowcharts. These symbols are connected by lines with
arro
ws to show the flow from one step to another.




Ovals are used to indicate both the start and end points in a series of
steps.


A box is used to represent an individual step or activity in the process.



Yes


A diamond shape shows a point in th
e process when a decision, such as
yes or no, must be made. Lines extending from diamonds must be labeled
with one of the possible answers.


A circle is used to indicate when a particular step is connected to another
part or page of the flowchart. A lett
er is often put inside the circle to help
clarify the continuation.


A triangle shows where a measurement is taken during the process.



Symbols are used in flowcharts to represent specific steps in a process.

Conditional statements

reflected in a flowc
hart are used to create source code. Most programming
languages use conditional statements such as
if...then

statements. For example, the following is a
simple
if...then

statement about a coffee pot that directs the program to make coffee if the value or
v
ariable is equal to
empty
:

if coffee pot = empty

then make coffee

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Introduction to Programming

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This simple flowchart shows how a conditional statement is used

to
help someone
decide whether to go golfing.

Flowcharting can be beneficial to all types of people, not just programmers,
because it helps clarify what
actually happens or needs to happen in an event or process. You can also use flowcharts to train people
(for example, to illustrate what to do in the event of a fire at your school). With a flowchart,
it is easier for
you
to

i
dentify problem areas and opportunities for improvement.

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Introduction to Programming

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Student Resource 14.5

Flowchart
:
Illustrating the Flow of Logic

Directions: A flowchart can help you
illustrate a decision
-
making process
. Likewise, a computer program
can be written based on a flow
chart to
illustrate the flow of logic in the program
. Think about the flowchart
shown in Student Resource 14.4, Reading: How Programming Languages Work, where the chart shows
how a person might decide whether to play golf or stay home. Use it as a model to

create your own
simple flowchart. Follow your teacher’s instructions about how to draw the flowchart. Review the
assessment criteria at the end of th
is

assignment sheet before you begin work.

Choose from one of the following five flowchart topics, or ask
your teacher for approval of a topic of your
choice.



What movie should we see?



Where should we go on vacation?



What should we eat for dinner tonight?



Should I take an art
class
or
a
music class next semester?



Should I wear shorts or long pants to school
to
morrow
?


As you draw your chart, r
emember to use the formal flowcharting symbols you learned in the reading. Be
sure that you include each of these
o
n your chart:



Start



At least
five
steps or activities



Yes/no decisions



Stop

Refer to Student Resource 14.4,

Reading: How Programming Languages Work
, as you work on your
chart.


M
ake sure your assignment meets or exceeds the following assessment criteria:



The chart correctly shows the flow for one of the suggested topics.



The chart uses formal flowchart symbols

correctly.



The chart has correct start and end points.



A yes
/
no decision is used correctly.



The chart includes a loop to show different outcomes for the yes/no question’s answers.



The chart is neat

and uses proper spelling and grammar
.

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Introduction to Programming

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Student Resource 14
.6

Worksheet: Writing a JavaScript Program

Student Name:_____________________________________________________ Date:_____________

Directions: Some people think that all computer code is complicated and hard to understand, but chances
are they have never wri
tten a simple program. This hands
-
on exercise will teach you some basic HTML
code and help you write your first computer program

in the JavaScript language
.

Before you begin, think back to what you already know about web pages. You know that web pages are
displayed using a web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox,
Chrome,
or Safari) and
that they
are
written using a computer language called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). You might also know that
other information, in a language called JavaScript,
can be added to create features such as a pop
-
up
window, a clock, or an animated button.

HTML

All web pages are written, at the most basic level, pretty much alike. The information a programmer wants
to tell the computer is enclosed in something called a
t
ag
. A tag is simply a command letting the
web
browser
know to begin doing something or to stop doing something. To begin writing a web page, you

first let the computer know that it needs to
begin
read
ing

HTML. The code look
s

like this:

<html>

<body>


Below

the
<body>

tag, you write the code for what you want to put on your web page

things like
headings, paragraphs, lists, pictures. After you code all of the content, you end your page with the closing
tags to tell the computer the page is finished:

</body>

<
/html>



When you
create
a tag, use angle brackets (
< >

symbols) to surround the tag itself.
To signal that a
particular part is completed
, you enclose the

end
tag


in

angle brackets and
use
a slash before the
command:
</ >
.

Many HTML tags are quite easy
to guess, once you have the hang of it. Some of the most common are
as follows:


<
strong
>bold</
strong
>


Makes a word
bold


<
em
>italics</
em
>

Makes a word appear in
italics

<u>underline</u>

Makes a word
underlined

<font color=green>text</font>

Makes tex
t
green

<
u
l>
<li>
bulleted list
</li>
</
u
l>

Creates a bulleted list

<a href="URL goes here">Name of
linked page</a>

Inserts a
link

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Introduction to Programming

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Writing JavaScript

Directions: In this exercise, you’ll practice writing
Jav
aScript
,
one of
the most commonly used scripting
language
s

on the web.
You

ll also use a few standard

HTML tags
,

into which you will insert

your
JavaScript code. Follow the instructions to write these JavaScript programs. If you don’t get the expected
outp
ut, ask your teacher or a fellow student for help.

1.

Let’s get started with something simple
:

making the phrase “Hello, World!” appear on your computer
screen. Using WordPad or another text editor, copy the following text into a new, blank document.

<html>

<body>

<script type="text/javascript">

document.write("Hello, World!");

</script>

</body>

</html>


Be careful when typing this text

remember that even one typo will cause a syntax error
, which will
prevent the code from running
. When you are done, save the

file as a text document and name it
hello.html
.

Next, double
-
click the new HTML file. What happens?

As you have probably guessed, the text from
<script>

to
</script>

is the JavaScript telling the
web page to display its message.

Troubleshooting

If your
message
doesn’t

appear on the screen
, check the following:



Did you create the document using a text editor like Notepad or Word
P
ad? (You need to use a
text editor rather than a program like
Microsoft
Word for writing code, because a text editor does
not in
sert any formatting.)



Did you save your file with the file extension
.html
? You have to give the file a file name that ends
in
.html

in order for your computer to know how to open it.



Have a partner double
-
check that you typed the text exactly
as it appear
s above
, with no syntax
errors
.



If you got an error message rather than a message display, it may be because of the way security
policies are configured on your computer.
In this case, check with your teacher about what to do
next.

2.

Now let’s try something
a bit more advanced. Type the following text into a
text editor
document, as you
did in the previous example
.

<html>

<body>

<script type="text/javascript">

document.write("<h1>This is a header</h1>");

</script>

</body>

</html>


Again,
be careful when typin
g
to

avoid a syntax error. When you are done, save the file as
header.html
. Then, double
-
click the new HTML file. What happens this time?

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Introduction to Programming

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3.

Now try this final sample piece of code to create a button that makes a pop
-
up window appear. As
before, open a docum
ent

using a text editor
,

type the following code, and save it
as
button.
html
.

<html>

<head>

<script type="text/javascript">

function disp_alert()

{

alert("I am an alert box!!");

}

</script>

</head>

<body>


<input type="button" onclick="disp_alert()" value=
"Click Me" />

</body>

</html>


The HTML commands (tags) and JavaScript scripting information work together to create these
programs.

4.

Now it’s your turn to use the information from the programs you’ve tried on this worksheet and write
your own JavaScript pr
ogram. Write a piece of JavaScript code to display your name and the name of
your school. Use the
space
below to write a draft of what you will code before you code it on the
computer. Remember to open and close the program using the HTML tags you’ve seen
on this
w
orksheet.


When you have written your code, save it as an HTML file, run it, and print a screenshot of your
program’s results. Submit the screenshot and this page with
a draft of
your source code for your
teacher’s review.











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Introduction to Programming

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5.

Make a pop
-
up

window to tell what your teacher’s name is. Remember to open and close the
program using the HTML tags you’ve seen on this worksheet. When you have written your code, save
it as an HTML file, run it, and print a screenshot of your program’s results. Submi
t the screenshot and
this page with

a draft of
your source code for your teacher’s review.











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Introduction to Programming

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Student Resource 14.7

Reading: The Software Development Process

Software Development

Today

In the early days of computing
, software development was simply
a
single
programmer writing code in
order to solve a problem or computerize a process
. However,

today’s computer systems are so large and
so
complex that a team of people is commonly needed to build a successful software product.

A software development tea
m can include project managers, systems analysts, software designers,
programmers, testers, marketers, technical writers, and even software users like you. A set of agreed
-
upon principles, methods, and tools are used to coordinate the team’s efforts so tha
t the software project
meets its goals.

Typical Phases in the “Life” of a Software Product

To help manage the software development process, the
software
development life cycle

(SDLC)

was
created. The SDLC is an organized way to build a software system or p
roduct. Although some
development teams break down the steps in an SDLC in slightly different ways, the following phases are
typical:

1.

Write the problem statement
:

This phase establishes a big
-
picture view of the intended project
and determines its goals. T
his process may involve software users (called
end users
) who
provide ideas for improving the project. This phase also includes conducting preliminary research
to see whether the proposed solution is cost effective.

2.

Write the requirements
:

This phase is fo
r analyzing the needs of end users and translating
project goals into specific, practical requirements.

3.

Design the first version of the
program
:

In this phase, developers describe in detail all the
features and operations of the system

or
product to meet t
he needs defined in the planning
phase. The design serves as a type of blueprint for the project and helps detect potential
problems in the plan before programming is started. This phase often includes the creation of a
prototype that shows how screens wil
l look and how processes will flow.

4.

Code/test/fix the first version
:

This phase involves the writing and debugging of code to create
an alpha (first) version of the software.

5.

Design the next version

of the program
:

After adjustments are made

to the alpha v
ersion
, a
beta (second) version is
designed
. End users often play a key role by helping to test the system

or
product in this phase.

6.

Code/test/fix the next version
:

In this phase
,

the beta code is created, tested, and fixed.

7.

Deploy/maintain/evaluate
the
f
irst code

release


and plan for the next
release
:

After final
adjustments have been made to the beta version, what is sometimes called a

gold master


is put
into production (manufactured) and released to the public (or a specific customer) for installati
on
and actual use
.

Then planning begins for the next product release.

T
his process is
iterative

in other words, after you complete step 7, you need to

circle back


and work

through the steps again
,

starting with step 1. In a commercial programming organiz
ation, the
process
continues to iterate

as long as the software product is available in the marketplace.

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Introduction to Programming

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When you illustrate an iterative process
,

you need to be sure you show the iteration graphically. For
example, if you used flowcharting to illustrate t
he software development process, you might draw or print
an arrow starting from step 7 and going back up to step 1.

Mistakes to Avoid

The following are examples of mistakes that can cause a project to fail:



Not defining
the problem statement or the
projec
t requirements clearly and accurately



Not getting everyone concerned with the project to agree on the
problem statement or
project
requirements



Not adequately identifying or distributing resources among team members



Not properly tracking the progress of th
e project, in terms of cost and schedule



Not identifying or addressing potential threats to the success of the project

in other words, not
gathering enough information and/or ignoring potential problems



Iterating only once through the process

for example,
not gathering customer feedback on a
software product already in the field and adjusting future product plans to customer requirements

Suggested Practices

The following are some generally accepted tips to use when developing software:



Be very thorough in

gathering product requirements, and document them in writing. Make sure
that all those involved with the project agree on these requirements.



B
reak large tasks into smaller, manageable pieces, and identify deadlines for each.



To ensure accountability from

all team members, make sure that deadlines are clear and that
people are required to report regularly on their progress.



Include procedures throughout the project for monitoring and maintaining quality. This includes
frequent testing.
Peer review
, a proce
ss used for checking work by one’s own equals or peers, is a
good idea.



Keep control of your project but not too rigidly

change is a part of life,
and that
includ
es
software
development.



After the project is completed, ask the team to reflect on the projec
t to identify what worked well
and what should have been done differently. This information can be helpful for future projects.

Open Source Software
's

Influence

on

Software Development

When the source code (programming instructions) for a software product
is made available
to
users and
other developers, we refer to it as
open source software
.

The open source movement started because
some developers thought that software products could be made better if companies and programmers
worked together. Those who di
stribute open source software expect and encourage others to examine
the source code to find problems and make changes to improve the product. The Linux operating system
is an example of open source software.

The availability of open source software has in
fluenced software development in another way. Companies
who develop proprietary software (software
whose source code is not publicly available
) have to work a
little harder to keep their share of the computer market, because users now have open source
alte
rnatives
.


AOIT Principles of Information Technology

Lesson 14
Introduction to Programming

Copyright © 2007

20
1
1

Nat
ional Academy Foundation. All rights reserved.

Student Resource 14.8

Poster: The Software Development Life Cycle

Directions: Think about what you know about the software development life cycle (SDLC). How can you
depict it visually on a poster?

With your group, create a poster that details t
he seven phases of the SDLC in the most creative way you
can imagine. Though you are free to keep the poster computer
-
related only, think of other multiphase
processes that you might encounter in nature or your own life and experiences that could be though
t of
similarly to the SDLC. Base your poster on the information you’ve gathered from reading and from your
experiences in class. Review the assessment criteria at the end of the assignment sheet before you begin
work.

Your poster should include the followi
ng:



An illustration or description of each phase of the SDLC

(write the problem statement, write the
requirements, design the first version of the code, code/test/fix the first version, design the next
version, code/test/fix the next version, deploy/maint
ain/evaluate the first product release and plan
for the next release).
Assign one phase to each group member, or distribute the

phases

as best
suits
your group’s makeup.



A label that identifies each phase.



A sentence that explains what happens during each

phase.

To make best use of
the time of
all members of your group, have each member draw one of the phases
and then neatly and attractively paste it onto the poster.

Each group member’s drawing should be accompanied by the purpose sentence he or she has w
ritten
explaining the phase. Make sure that whatever you write would make sense to someone who knows
nothing about computers or the SDLC.


M
ake sure your assignment meets or exceeds the following assessment criteria:



The poster accurately describes the va
rious phases of the SDLC
.



The poster’s graphic elements clearly illustrate the seven phases of the SDLC

and the iterative
nature of the process
.



The poster’s text communicates what makes each feature useful.



The material on the poster keeps its audience in

mind, using an appropriate level of detail to
highlight how the SDLC operates.



The poster is neat

and uses
proper spelling and grammar
.