Summary
Modular programming is a software design technique that emphasizes separating the functionality of a program into independent, interchangeable modules, such that each contains everything necessary to execute only one aspect of the desired functionality. A module interface expresses the elements that are provided and required by the module. The elements defined in the interface are detectable by other modules. The implementation contains the working code that corresponds to the elements declared in the interface. Modular programming is closely related to structured programming and object-oriented programming, all having the same goal of facilitating construction of large software programs and systems by decomposition into smaller pieces, and all originating around the 1960s. While the historical usage of these terms has been inconsistent, "modular programming" now refers to the high-level decomposition of the code of an entire program into pieces: structured programming to the low-level code use of structured control flow, and object-oriented programming to the data use of objects, a kind of data structure. In object-oriented programming, the use of interfaces as an architectural pattern to construct modules is known as interface-based programming. Modular programming, in the form of subsystems (particularly for I/O) and software libraries, dates to early software systems, where it was used for code reuse. Modular programming per se, with a goal of modularity, developed in the late 1960s and 1970s, as a larger-scale analog of the concept of structured programming (1960s). The term "modular programming" dates at least to the National Symposium on Modular Programming, organized at the Information and Systems Institute in July 1968 by Larry Constantine; other key concepts were information hiding (1972) and separation of concerns (SoC, 1974). Modules were not included in the original specification for ALGOL 68 (1968), but were included as extensions in early implementations, ALGOL 68-R (1970) and ALGOL 68C (1970), and later formalized.
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