Hand Coding

What Does Hand Coding Mean?

Hand coding involves writing functional code or layout directions in the basic languages in which they are compiled. The alternative is to use various kinds of tools to implement coding conventions without having to hand code them in the original languages.


Techopedia Explains Hand Coding

To understand the idea of hand coding, it is necessary to understand how computer programming evolved over the last 30 years. In the earliest years of programming, languages like Basic and Fortran were always hand coded. Users did not have elaborate programs that would allow them to code in an automated manner.

Eventually, with Windows-based computing and other advances, tech companies evolved products that could automate some kinds of hand coding for either programming or layout purposes. One of the main examples is the wide spectrum of tools that allow users to avoid hand coding HTML, the underlying language for a lot of Web source code. Actual HTML commands are syntactically complex and challenging for many people. Companies created tools that would allow users to visually lay out Web pages instead of hand coding the HTML, or in other words, writing out all of the HTML layout or actions.

Other kinds of tools helping people to avoid hand coding are sometimes called what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editors. The idea here is that the display mimics the eventual result, hiding the actual hand coding from the person who is doing the layout. In the coding world, some tools allow for automated coding, but hand coding is still a major part of what programmers do on a regular basis. Many professionals would not want to abstract the coding process too much, because he could get in the way of understanding and reading code as it is written. For example, MS Visual Basic includes visual forms for windows, text boxes and more, but the fundamental code is still visible in clickable windows and menu options, so that programmers still have to hand code the functionality of these devices.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.