Running the computer program

The operating system is a collection of program provided by the computer's manufacturer that allows us to shedule jobs for the computer, to translate source programs into object programs, to sort data stored on secondary storage devices, and to copy data from any input device to any output device. These programs are called control programs, language programs and utility pro­grams.

The control program (often called the supervisor, monitor, or executive) is a main-storage-resident program. Its functions are to schedule jobs, shedule input and output for our programs, and to monitor the execution of our programs.

Английский язык. Основы компьютерной грамотности 156

The language processors are programs that translate source programs into object programs. There are three types of language processors: assemblers, compilers, and interpreters. Each lan­guage has its own language processor.

The service programs are programs that are commonly used in all data processing centers. They have functions that are re­quired by everyone using a computer. Examples of service pro­grams include linkage editors to prepare object programs for execution, a librarian to catalog programs into a library area on magnetic disc, utility programs to transfer data from device to device, and sort-merge programs for sorting data on magnetic tape or disk.

3. Testing the computer program

There are two kinds of errors or bugs with which program­mers must deal. The first type is the coding error. Such errors are syntax errors that prevent the language processor from suc­cessfully translating the source program to object program code. The language processor identifies the nature and the location of the error on the source program listing, so these errors are relatively easy to find and correct. The second type of bug is the logic error. The computer program can be successfully translat­ed, but the program does not produce the desired results. These errors are generally much more difficult to find and to correct than are coding errors. Logic errors can be avoided through careful planning of the program logic, but it is the programmer's responsibility to test thoroughly all of the program's functions, in order to verify that the program performs according to spec­ifications.

There are many tools provided to the programmer to help in debugging the program logic. These tools are called debug packages or tracing routines. They assist the programmer in fol­lowing the logic by printing out calculation results and field values used in making logic decisions in the program. In a few cases it may be necessary to use a memory dump — a printout of the instructions and date held in the computer's memory — in order to find the cause of logic errors.



People have dreamt of a universal information database since late nineteen forties. In this database, not only would the data be accessible to people around the world, but it would also eas­ily link to other pieces of information, so that only the most

important data would be quickly found by a user. Only recently the new technologies have made such systems possible. The most popular system currently in use is the World-Wide Web (WWW) which began in March 1989. The Web is an Internet-based computer network that allows users on one computer to access information stored on another through the world-wide network.

As the popularity of the Internet increases, people become more aware of its colossal potential. The World-Wide Web is a product of the continuous search for innovative ways of sharing information resources. The WWW project is based on the prin­ciple of universal readership; "if information is available, then any person should be able to access it from anywhere in the world." The Web's implementation follows a standard client-server model. In this model, a user relies on a program (the cli­ent) to connect to a remote machine (the server), where the data is stored. The architecture of the WWW is the one of clients, such as Netscape, Mosaic, or Lynx, "which know how to present data but not what its origin is, and servers, which know how to extract data", but are ignorant of how it will be presented to the user.

One of the main features of the WWW documents is their hypertext structure. On a graphic terminal, for instance, a par­ticular reference can be represented by underlined text, or an icon. "The user clicks on it with the mouse, and the referenced document appears." This method makes copying of informa­tion unnecessary: data needs only to be stored once, and all ref­erenced to it can be linked to the original document.

2. SUCCESS of the WWW

Set off in 1989, the WWW quickly gained great popularity among Internet users. What is the reason for the immense suc­cess of the Wbrld-Wide Wfeb? Perhaps, it can be explained by CERN's* attitude towards the development of the project. As soon as the basic outline of the WWW was complete, CERN made the source code for its software publicly available. CERN has been encouraging collaboration by academic and commer­cial parties since the onset of the project, and by doing so it got millions of people involved in the growth of the Wfeb.

The system requirements for running a WWW server are minimal, so even administrators with limited funds had a chance


to become information providers. Because of the intuitive na­ture of hypertext, many inexperienced computer users were able to connect to the network. Furthermore, the simplicity of the Hyper Text Markup Language, used for creating interactive documents, allowed these users to contribute to the expanding database of documents on the Web. Also, the nature of the World-Wide Web provided a way to interconnect computers running different operating systems, and display information created in a variety of existing media formats.

In short, the possibilities for hypertext in the world-wide en­vironment are endless. With the computer industry growing at today's pace, no one knows what awaits us in the 21st century.

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