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The development of diagnostic software for the tokamak fusion test reactor (TFTR) machine is discussed. Key problems in the development process are the control of a large body of applications code and the provision of an environment that maximizes the productivity of the applications programmers. Control of the large body of code is accomplished through the use of a common method of software module specification, standard naming conventions, standard documentation, and automated utility programs to check the consistency of source code. The productivity of the applications programmers is enchanced by the presence of services providing graphics capabilities, terminal and user dialog management, data access, smoothing and compression, hardware device access and testing, and program execution tracing.