[Humanist] 30.388 flowcharts?
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Oct 6 08:18:51 CEST 2016
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 388.
Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2016 07:09:41 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
At the moment I am working on the history of flowcharting and related
practices, in part to discover what those practices are and how they may
be considered related. The organizational chart is an example of a close
relation; a map showing movement of goods, services, people is an
example of a distant one, I would suppose. But my question here is
strictly focused on the fading away of flowcharting (if indeed it has
faded away) as a programming practice.
I'm aware that there are programming practices in which it would never
occur to the programmer to use one. I'd suppose that flowchart-like
whiteboard sketches are still used to think through a programming
design. What I am supposing has gone for good is the detailed flowchart
made before a programming task begins, except perhaps in a large
organization where the programming is divided into separate groups. In
situations in which a programmer and a client meet to work out what
might be done, does the flowchart ever come into use as a medium of
thinking through the computational process?
In the good/bad old days technically minded academics occasionally
published flowcharts in their papers, e.g. in Dell Hymes, ed., The Use
of Computers in Anthropology (The Hague: Mouton, 1965). I'd be very
surprised if that has happened this century but would love to be
Can anyone help with real-life experience? I'd especially like to know
what anyone thinks a flowchart communicates -- tacitly, subliminally as
well as explicitly and rationally -- to the non-technically minded scholar.
Thanks very much.
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney
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