A program development system (PDS) should support a smooth transition between design, development, debugging, testing and final production of a software system. Man-machine interaction, though necessary, should not allow the user to modify the program or its execution state in an unstructured way; rather, disciplined interaction should be enforced by the PDS. After a review of the most desirable features of a PDS, the underlying philosophy of SIMPLE, a PDS which supports the development of Pascal programs, is introduced. The general structure of the SIMPLE system and the basic implementation choices are also discussed.
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