Computer Programming - Environment


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Though Environment Setup is not an element of any Programming Language, it is the first step to be followed before setting on to write a program.

When we say Environment Setup, it simply implies a base on top of which we can do our programming. Thus, we need to have the required software setup, i.e., installation on our PC which will be used to write computer programs, compile, and execute them. For example, if you need to browse Internet, then you need the following setup on your machine −

  • A working Internet connection to connect to the Internet
  • A Web browser such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, etc.

If you are a PC user, then you will recognize the following screenshot, which we have taken from the Internet Explorer while browsing tutorialspoint.com.

Internet Explorer

Similarly, you will need the following setup to start with programming using any programming language.

  • A text editor to create computer programs.
  • A compiler to compile the programs into binary format.
  • An interpreter to execute the programs directly.

In case you don’t have sufficient exposure to computers, you will not be able to set up either of these software. So, we suggest you take the help from any technical person around you to set up the programming environment on your machine from where you can start. But for you, it is important to understand what these items are.

Text Editor

A text editor is a software that is used to write computer programs. Your Windows machine must have a Notepad, which can be used to type programs. You can launch it by following these steps −

Start Icon → All Programs → Accessories → Notepad → Mouse Click on Notepad

It will launch Notepad with the following window −

Notepad

You can use this software to type your computer program and save it in a file at any location. You can download and install other good editors like Notepad++, which is freely available.

If you are a Mac user, then you will have TextEdit or you can install some other commercial editor like BBEdit to start with.

Compiler?

You write your computer program using your favorite programming language and save it in a text file called the program file.

Now let us try to get a little more detail on how the computer understands a program written by you using a programming language. Actually, the computer cannot understand your program directly given in the text format, so we need to convert this program in a binary format, which can be understood by the computer.

The conversion from text program to binary file is done by another software called Compiler and this process of conversion from text formatted program to binary format file is called program compilation. Finally, you can execute binary file to perform the programmed task.

We are not going into the details of a compiler and the different phases of compilation.

The following flow diagram gives an illustration of the process −

Compiler

So, if you are going to write your program in any such language, which needs compilation like C, C++, Java and Pascal, etc., then you will need to install their compilers before you start programming.

Interpreter

We just discussed about compilers and the compilation process. Compilers are required in case you are going to write your program in a programming language that needs to be compiled into binary format before its execution.

There are other programming languages such as Python, PHP, and Perl, which do not need any compilation into binary format, rather an interpreter can be used to read such programs line by line and execute them directly without any further conversion.

Interpreter

So, if you are going to write your programs in PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, etc., then you will need to install their interpreters before you start programming.

Online Compilation

If you are not able to set up any editor, compiler, or interpreter on your machine, then tutorialspoint.com provides a facility to compile and run almost all the programs online with an ease of a single click.

So do not worry and let's proceed further to have a thrilling experience to become a computer programmer in simple and easy steps.



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