Scilab programming language
Scilab is a programming language associated with a rich collection of numerical algorithms covering many aspects of scientific computing problems. Scilab is an interpreted language. This generally allows to get faster development processes, because the user directly accesses to a high level language, with a rich set of features provided by the library. The Scilab language is meant to be extended so that user-defined data types can be defined with possibly overloaded operations. Scilab users can develop their own module so that they can solve their particular problems. The Scilab language allows to dynamically compile and link other languages such as Fortran and C: this way, external libraries can be used as if they were a part of Scilab built-in features.
To whom are these specifications directed?
This tutorial is for those people who want to learn programming in Scilab and do not necessarily have any previous knowledge of other numerical programming languages. Of course any knowledge of other programming languages or any general computer skill can be useful to better understand this tutorial, although it is not essential.
It is also suitable for those who need a little update on the new features the language has acquired from the latest standards.
If you are familiar with the Scilab language, you can take the first 3 parts of this tutorial as a review of concepts. There are slight differences in the Scilab 6 family syntax for some Scilab 5 family features, so I recommend you its reading anyway.
Structure of these specifications
The tutorial is divided in 6 parts and each part is divided on its turn into different sections covering a topic each one. You can access any section directly from the table of contents available on the top of each page, or begin the tutorial from any point and follow the links at the bottom of each section.
Many sections include examples that describe the use of the newly acquired knowledge in the chapter. It is recommended to read these examples and to be able to understand each of the code lines that constitute it before passing to the next chapter.
A good way to gain experience with a programming language is by modifying and adding new functionalities on your own to the example programs that you fully understand. Don't be scared to modify the examples provided with this tutorial, that's the way to learn!
The examples included in this tutorial are all console programs. That means they use text to communicate with the user and to show their results. In general Scilab 5 and Scilab 6 family compilers support the compilation of console programs.
Code conventions have been established for Scilab language, their important to programmers for a number of reasons:
Hardly any program is maintained for its whole life by the original author. Code conventions improve the readability of the program, allowing to understand new code more quickly and thoroughly. If you ship your source code as a product, you need to make sure it is as well packaged and clean as any other product you create.