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Definition

pseudocode

Pseudocode (pronounced SOO-doh-kohd) is a detailed yet readable description of what a computer program or algorithm must do, expressed in a formally-styled natural language rather than in a programming language. Pseudocode is sometimes used as a detailed step in the process of developing a program. It allows designers or lead programmers to express the design in great detail and provides programmers a detailed template for the next step of writing code in a specific programming language.

Because pseudocode is detailed yet readable, it can be inspected by the team of designers and programmers as a way to ensure that actual programming is likely to match design specifications. Catching errors at the pseudocode stage is less costly than catching them later in the development process. Once the pseudocode is accepted, it is rewritten using the vocabulary and syntax of a programming language. Pseudocode is sometimes used in conjunction with computer-aided software engineering-based methodologies.

It is possible to write programs that will convert a given pseudocode language into a given programming language.

This was last updated in April 2005
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