Top down and Bottom up programming


Why do we say languages such as C are top-down while OOP languages like Java or C++ are bottom-up? Does this classification have any importance in software development?

11/21/2018 11:26:02 PM

Accepted Answer

The "top down" approach takes a high level definition of the problem and subdivides it into subproblems, which you then do recursively until you're down to pieces that are obvious and easy to code. This is often associated with the "functional decomposition" style of programming, but needn't be.

In "bottom up" programming, you identify lower-level tools that you can compose to become a bigger program.

In reality, almost all programming is done with a combination of approaches. in object oriented programming, you commonly subdivide the problem by identifying domain objects (which is a top down step), and refining those, then recombining those into the final program — a bottom up step.

5/19/2009 5:29:30 AM

In Top-Down development you start out with your main function, and then think of the main steps you need to take, then you break up each of those steps into their subparts, and so on.

In Bottom-Up programming you think of the basic functionality and the parts you're going to need and build them up. You develop the actors and their methods, and then you tie them together to make a coherent whole.

OOP naturally tends toward Bottom-Up as you develop your objects, while procedural programming tends toward Top-Down as you start out with one function and slowly add to it.

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