Boy Scouts of America Troup 152 Computing Merit Badge Requirement 2

Below is an approximate summary of requirement 2. Be sure to check the official set of requirements in effect.

Requirement 2: Do the following:

  1. Tell what a program is and how it is developed.
  2. Give 3 examples of programming languages and what types of programming they are used for.
  3. Describe a source program and an object program.

Give the counselor a 1/2 to 1 page answer to the above. Use the materials given below.

Programs are instructions that tell computers to do something. Check out some of the definitions in the glossaries. You will learn how to develop one for requirement 5c. Usually you develop a list of the requirements for a program, design it, code or write it in a programming language, and then try it out on a computer with the help of a compiler or interpreter. If there are errors you have to repeat one or more of the above stages, making suitable corrections.

One popular programming language is Java. See a short online introduction. You can download software, documentation, and demos from Sun's site and should try out the demos and examine the related source programs. You also can read an article about its history (which ends with lots of good pointers if you want more information). For those with more interest, take the online tutorial.

For general information on programming see the Netscape page on programming. There is a nice online list of programming languages with explanations. Some of the most popular are Basic, C, C++, Cobol, Fortran, and PERL.

Fortran is used by mathematicians and engineers. A big collection of programs, mostly in Fortran, is Netlib. One set of Fortran programs, written at Virginia Tech, that is stored this is hompack - see files ending with ".f" to see Fortran source code.

Regarding source and object programs, the first is what you write in the above languages while the second is the converted version when your run your program through a compiler and similar tools. This is explained in more detail on pages 7-9 of POCA. Source programs can be read by people while object programs are read by computers. See more about source programs when you do requirement 5c.