[Humanist] 30.396 flowcharts

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Oct 8 08:12:59 CEST 2016

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 396.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2016 19:32:03 +0100
        From: Simon Rae <simon.rae at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  30.388 flowcharts?
        In-Reply-To: <20161006061851.B75A27F39 at digitalhumanities.org>

Hi Willard,

Possibly a wee bit off your track, but I remember Jim Haag giving a lecture at the City University in 1975 on a new programming language that used flowcharting as the way in to the skills of coding. I tracked down a reference for a paper in ACM Proceedings that I think talks of the same language:

> Haag, James N., Michael A. Kelly, and Paul F. Sherman. "TWO-D: The
> USF Beginner's Two-Dimensional Programming System." ACM SIGPLAN
> Notices. Vol. 7. No. 10. ACM, 1972
> A programming system, permitting the user to think 100% that he is
> programming with flowchart symbols, is described. This description
> includes the TWO-D syntax, the user's view-point, the CRT-terminal
> output, the overall structure of the simply-designed programming
> system, the file structure used, some design decisions faced, and the
> flowchart of the supervisory program.

At the time I remember that it seemed a nice way of combining the visuals of a process in diagram form with the necessary formal instructions.



> twitter: @simonrae
> retired Lecturer in Professional Development (Open University)

> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 388.
> Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2016 07:09:41 +0100
> From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
> Subject: flowcharts
> 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 
> contradicted.
> 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.
> Yours,
> WM
> -- 
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney
> University

More information about the Humanist mailing list