Visual Programming: Using Flowcharts to Create Programs

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Block diagrams in programming are an important tool in helping developers visualize, analyze, and understand the algorithms and processes of a program. They provide a structured approach to problem-solving and help define the sequence of actions, conditions, loops, and other logical constructs of the program. We will consider more about the use of flowcharts later in this article.

A block diagram is a visual representation of an algorithm or process consisting of a set of blocks representing various steps, actions, conditions, and cycles. These blocks are connected by lines that indicate the direction of data flow or control. Block diagrams are used in a variety of fields, including programming, engineering, management, and business, and can be a useful tool for analyzing and designing complex problems.

Learning algorithms and data structures are possible in training courses such as those offered by the IT school GoMother. After successful completion of the course, participants gain skills in creating effective code and organizing project and module architecture.

The history of block diagrams dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when they were used to represent electrical circuits. In the 1920s, they began to be used in engineering to visualize technological processes, and in the 1950s they were adapted for use in programming and displaying algorithms.

Today, block diagrams remain an essential tool for providing clarity and structure in processes that require precision and consistency. The basic elements of block diagrams use well-defined symbols to represent different aspects of an algorithm and their relationships.

The main components of block diagrams in programming:

These are clearly defined icons that represent the different components of the algorithm.

  1. Action elements (rectangles): represent specific operations or actions that occur in a process. These blocks can contain functions for calculations, data input/output, or calls to specific function modules.
  2. Icons for data (parallelograms): indicate operations related to information processing. Operations such as input, output, saving, or reading data can be displayed here.
  3. Condition elements (diamonds): used to indicate branches in an algorithm where the program must make a decision depending on certain conditions. For example, it could be checking the value of a variable.
  4. Loop icons (ovals): illustrate actions that will be executed repeatedly as long as a certain condition is met. This can be a for loop, while loop, or other repetition mechanisms.

Here are examples in a programming context:

  • Rectangle (action)

# Example: calculating the sum of two numbers

def calculate_sum(number1, number2):

# Adding the two numbers

result = number1 + number2

# Returning the result

return result

  • Parallelogram (data)

# Example: user input from the keyboard

user_input = input(“Enter a number: “)

Rhombus (condition):

# Example: Checking if a number is even

number = 10

# Checking the remainder when divided by 2

if number % 2 == 0:

print(“The number is even”)


print(“The number is odd”)

  • Oval (cycle):

# Example: While loop to print numbers from 1 to 5

counter = 1

# Looping until the counter is less than or equal to 5

while counter <= 5:

# Printing the current value of the counter


# Incrementing the counter

counter += 1

These examples demonstrate how the elements of flowcharts can be used to visualize various aspects of programming, helping to understand the structure and logic of algorithms.

Use in programming to develop programs

In the software development process, the flowchart plays an important role at every stage of the application life cycle, starting with the planning phase and ending with the testing phase. Its importance is manifested in the formation of a clear idea about algorithms, management of complexity, and ensuring effective interaction in the development team.

Here are some examples of block diagrams for different programs and algorithms:

  1. Graph breadth-first search (BFS): block diagram for a graph breadth-first search algorithm used, for example, to determine the shortest path.

Block diagrams in programming

2. Merge Sort algorithm: a block diagram for sorting by the merge sort method, which is effective for processing large volumes of data.

Block diagrams in programming

These examples illustrate how flowcharts can be used in different types of programs and algorithms.

How to create a flowchart

There are several different tools designed for this task, each of which has its characteristics:

  1. Lucidchart: A powerful online application, it provides easy collaboration and a variety of elements.
  2. Microsoft Visio: This is a standard tool that is integrated with Microsoft Office and has many features for creating diagrams.
  3. is a free online application with an intuitive interface that supports export and integration with cloud services.
  4. Creately: This is a tool that focuses on visual design, provides templates, and the ability to work in teams.

Here are some tips for creating and using flowcharts effectively:

  • Simplify the block diagram, and avoid excessive details to maintain their clarity and comprehensibility.
  • Use standard shapes and colors to facilitate perception and create a unified style.
  • Add comments to flowcharts to explain complex logical structures and improve clarity.
  • Label key stages and variables to make the diagram more informative.
  • Regularly update the flowcharts when changes are made to the algorithms to keep the documentation up to date.

With these helpful tips and effective tools, flowcharts become not only a necessary step in development but also a powerful tool for increasing project clarity and efficiency.

Criticisms and limitations

Although flowcharts are an effective means of visualizing algorithms and processes, they also have some drawbacks that can be found in modern programming.

  1. Inaccuracy: Flowcharts can be imprecise due to the use of simple symbols to represent various elements of algorithms. For example, an action block can display both simple operations and complex algorithms.
  2. Inflexibility: Using a limited set of symbols in flowcharts makes them inflexible. For example, a condition block can only be used to represent simple conditions.
  3. Complexity: Flowcharts can be difficult to understand, especially for those new to programming, due to the use of abstract symbols and concepts.

Instead, there are alternative approaches to visualizing algorithms:

  • Pseudocode: A textual representation of algorithms that uses special notation for the various elements of the algorithms.
  • UML diagrams: A standardized set of diagrams for representing various aspects of software, including algorithms.
  • Prototypes: working models of algorithms to help understand how they work and test their performance.


Block diagrams in programming are a powerful tool in programming, but their limitations are worth considering. Using alternative approaches to algorithm visualization can improve understanding and communication in the software development process. If you want to learn programming from scratch or improve your knowledge, we invite you to the first FREE lesson at the IT GoMother school. Lessons are held in Akademmistechko or online at a time convenient for you.

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