The development of application software has to undergo a life cycle. An in-house creation of programs commonly involves the following six stages:
i) Program analysis: In this stage, the programmer ascertains for a particular application the output s required, the inputs available and the processing. The programmer then determines whether the proposed application can be or should be programmed at all.
ii) Program design: In this stage, the programmer develops the general organisation of the program as it relates to the main functions to be performed. Out of several other tools available to him, input, output and file layouts and flowcharts are quite useful at this stage.
iii) Program coding: The logic of the program outline in the flowcharts is converted into program state mate of instructions at this stage. Programmers broadly pursue three objectives; Simplicity, efficient utilisation of storage and least processing time. Further the program, upon implementation, may require frequent modifications to suit the changing systems environment.
iv) Debug the program: The process of debugging a program refers to correcting programming language syntax and diagnostic errors so that the program ―Compiles cleanly‖. Once the programmer achieves a clean compile, the program is ready for structured walk the rough.
v) Program documentation: The writing of narrative procedure and instructions for people who will use software is done the roughout the program life cycle. Managers and users should carefully review documentation in order to ensure that the software and system behave as the documentation indicates.
vi) Program maintenance: The requirements of business data processing applications are subject to continual change. The calls for modification of the various program. This work will be entrusted to a separate categories of programmers called maintenance programmers.