Last updated: Friday 27th February 2015, 10:51 PT, AD

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 (blue print) 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.

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FYI: There are programs that will convert a given pseudocode language into a given programming language.

Example Algorithm its respective Pseudocode:

Problem: To find the average of 3 numbers

Algorithm:

1. Instruct the user to enter the first number

2. Input the first number

3. Add the number to a running total

4. Instruct the user to enter the second number

5. Input the second number

6. Add the second number to the running total

7. Instruct the user to enter the third number

8. Input the third number

9. Add the third number to the running total

10. Divide the total by 3

11. Print out the result

Pseudocode:

total = 0

Display "Enter number 1"

Input number1

total = total + number1

Display "Enter number 2"

Input number2

total = total + number2

Display "Enter number 3"

Input number3

total = total + number3

average = total / 3

Display average

Note: there are no firm rules on the words you choose to represent input, output and processing. For instance, you may use the word write instead of the word Display, or read instead of Input.  Just be consistent.

For more examples of pseudocode, check out this

Program written in the Python 2 language:

`total = 0.0`
`number1=float(raw_input("Enter the first number: "))`
`total = total + number1`
`number2=float(raw_input("Enter the second number: "))`
`total = total + number2`
`number3=float(raw_input("Enter the third number: "))`
`total = total + number3`
`average = total / 3`
`print "The average is " + str(average)`

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Program written in the Python 3 language:

`total = 0.0`
`number1=float(input("Enter the first number: "))`
`total = total + number1`
`number2=float(input("Enter the second number: "))`
`total = total + number2`
`number3=float(input("Enter the third number: "))`
`total = total + number3`
`average = total / 3`
`print ("The average is " + str(average))`