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Modular programming is the process of subdividing a computer program into separate sub-programs.
A module is a separate software component. It can often be used in a variety of applications and functions with other components of the system. Similar functions are grouped in the same unit of programming code and separate functions are developed as separate units of code so that the code can be reused by other applications.
Object-oriented programming (OOP) is compatible with the modular programming concept to a large extent. Modular programming enables multiple programmers to divide up the work and debug pieces of the program independently.
Modules in modular programming enforce logical boundaries between components and improve maintainability. They are incorporated through interfaces. They are designed in such a way as to minimize dependencies between different modules. Teams can develop modules separately and do not require knowledge of all modules in the system.
Each and every modular application has a version number associated with it. This provides developers flexibility in module maintenance. If any changes have to be applied to a module, only the affected subroutines have to be changed. This makes the program easier to read and understand.
Modular programming has a main module and many auxiliary modules. The main module is compiled as an executable (EXE), which calls the auxiliary module functions. Auxiliary modules exist as separate executable files, which load when the main EXE runs. Each module has a unique name assigned in the PROGRAM statement. Function names across modules should be unique for easy access if functions used by the main module must be exported.
Languages that support the module concept are IBM Assembler, COBOL, RPG, FORTRAN, Morpho, Zonnon and Erlang, among others.
The benefits of using modular programming include: