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Programmers, even in well-organized software environments which utilize some modern software engineering practices, are often lacking of a discipline in their individual programming effort. There has not been an emphasis on discipline in progamming practice, as is traditional in other engineering and scientific fields' instruction. A framework organized to be suitable for early presentation and developing usage is presented and evaluated. It integrates the notions of top-down design, stepwise refinement, structured flowcharting, test case description, and analysis in the context of a framework for systematically developing and concurrently documenting programs. The framework was evaluated in actual usage during introductory programming instruction by comparing it to a typical conventional approach. A comparison of programming effort showed only a 16 percent increase in time required in the disciplined approach, which certainly makes it feasible for introductory instruction. Program quality comparisons were carried out by a comprehensive testing for logic errors in the completed projects. The results were impressively favorable for the disciplined approach.
Date of Publication: March 1980