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Comments are used in a programming language to document the program and remind programmers of what tricky things they just did with the code, or to warn later generations of programmers stuck with maintaining some spaghetti code. While comments may seem to be a minor issue in a language, an awkward comment format in a language is a nuisance and can be a source of nasty errors. The content of a comment is handled as if it were not there by the compiler. Examples of modern-day comments are: Comments were called REMarks in BASIC. COBOL used a NOTE among other types of comments. ALGOL 60 used the reserved word comment to start a comment and the semicolon to terminate the comment.
In computer programming, a comment is a programmer-readable explanation or annotation in the source code of a computer program. They are added with the purpose of making the source code easier for humans to understand, and are generally ignored by compilers and interpreters. The syntax of comments in various programming languages varies considerably. Comments are sometimes processed in various ways to generate documentation external to the source code itself by documentation generators, or used for integration with source code management systems and other kinds of external programming tools.
Often cited as one of the most useful and least used programming conventions, a comment is a text note added to source code to provide explanatory information, usually about the function of the code. Comments are usually helpful to someone maintaining or enhancing your code when you are no longer around to answer questions about it. Peer developers sometimes assess code for the completeness and readability of its comments. To enable the programming language compiler to recognize comments and not confuse them with instruction s, a special character is used (such as “#,” ” /* ,” ” ‘ ” and ” // “) to signal the beginning or the end of a comment. The HTML comment start characters ( <!–“) tell the browser not to display the text between them and the end characters (” –> “); the text within these comment framing characters is visible, however, to anyone reading the code. Reading this page in a Web browser, for example, you can select “View” and then “Source” to see the HTML code for the page, including the comments.
A FORTRAN comment is indicated by a C in position 1, and only works if the C is in position 1. The comment takes the entire line. In these early languages, programming was done with cards so there was an obsession with lines (cards) and the beginning and end of cards (lines) that present generation programmers cannot understand. Multiple-line statements or two statements on the same line were not imaged. Since both BASIC and FORTRAN used single lines for their statements, it is not surprising they used the same convention for comments. With these full-line comments, they are used on separate lines before or after code that needs to be commented.
Commenting involves placing Human Readable Descriptions inside of computer programs detailing what the Code is doing. Proper use of commenting can make code maintenance much easier, as well as helping make finding bugs faster. Further, commenting is very important when writing functions that other people will use. Remember, well documented code is as important as correctly working code. All programs should be commented in such a manner as to easily describe (in English) the purpose of the code and any algorithms used to accomplish the purpose. A user should be able to utilize a previously written program (or function) without ever having to look at the code, simply by reading the comments.
Commenting is the “art” of describing what your program is going to do in “high level” English statements. Commenting is best done before actually writing the code for your program. Comments are specially marked lines of text in the program that are not evaluated. There are usually two syntactic ways to comment. The first is called a single line comment and, as implied, only applies to a single line in the “source code” (the program). The second is called a Block comment and refers usually refers to a paragraph of text. A block comment has a start symbol and an end symbol and everything between is ignored by the computer. However, comments are critical for describing the relationships between code objects and different parts of the system, and how to properly use your code once it is written. In other words, how all the pieces of your application or library work together. Developers who advocate writing no comments at all build large, opaque, in deciperable systems because they don’t fully appreciate this point.
Add Comments to a Program
A comment is a note to yourself (or others) that you put into your source code. All comments are ignored by the compiler. They exist solely for your benefit. Comments are used primarily to document the meaning and purpose of your source code, so that you can remember later how it functions and how to use it. You can also use a comment to temporarily remove a line of code. Simply surround the line(s) with the comment symbols. Comments should not be overly long. Comments should not give details for the sake of details; only when a fact is necessary or interesting should it be brought to the attention of the program’s reader. If you were reading someone else’s program, you would not want to be forced to pick through paragraphs of text describing the intricacies of a for loop’s operation only to realize that you could have discovered the same information simply by having read the for loop.
C Language: Comments
In the C Programming Language, you can place comments in your source code that are not executed as part of the program. Comments provide clarity to the C source code allowing others to better understand what the code was intended to accomplish and greatly helping in debugging the code. Comments are especially important in large projects containing hundreds or thousands of lines of source code or in projects in which many contributors are working on the source code. A comment starts with a slash asterisk /* and ends with a asterisk slash */and can be anywhere in your program. Comments can span several lines within your C program. Comments are typically added directly above the related C source code. Adding source code comments to your C source code is a highly recommended practice. In general, it is always better to over comment C source code than to not add enough.
How to Write a Comment in a Computer Programming Language When programming on a computer, sometimes it is necessary to leave notes or comments so that other developers may browse your code with ease. Whether it is an open source project or a proprietary project, comments are needed in order to coordinate with co-developers and possible future developers as well. Without comments, code would simply be unmaintainable.
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