The Advantages of Using Pseudocode

By Mike Southern

Developing computer programs, especially ones as large and complex as operating systems or corporate data systems, is a difficult job. There are many opportunities for developers to make mistakes, create unintentional complexity, or simply lose their way. Pseudocode is an incredibly useful tool in the developer's toolbox, helping her avoid many of the pitfalls that plague such a complex undertaking.

Simple

Pseudocode is plain text and therefore easy to understand. Because it does not require the rigid structures and syntax of a programming language, it does not require a special editing environment. Pseudocode can also be understood by non-programmers, allowing developers to bring experts with no computer knowledge into the creative loop, benefiting from their input and allowing the developer to create software that is even more useful for their clients.

Language-Independent

Because pseudocode is not itself an actual programming language, it can be used with almost any available programming language. This is a great boon to developers, who often have the ability to use a variety of languages. Some languages are better suited for solving certain types of programming problems, but the precise nature of the problem may not be clear in the initial development stages. Using pseudocode ensures that development time is not wasted, simply because the pseudocode can still be used once the best language for the job has been identified.

Streamlined

The non-specific nature of pseudocode greatly streamlines the product development phase because it eliminates many of the distractions which could easily derail the early part of the process. Developers can look at the whole picture rather than the specific elements that make up that picture. They can be sure they have adequately defined the problem before they get too deep into the actual prototyping phase and realize they have forgotten something important. The prototyping phase can then move along more quickly, simply because there is no need to keep correcting code that has already been written.

Efficient

Taken together, all these benefits result in a much more efficient development process. Projects can be developed more quickly because planning is more rapid and more thorough. Fewer problems arise during coding, so less time is wasted troubleshooting the same code repeatedly. And the process itself becomes more economical, encouraging developers to design and create even more useful programs.