Using The Tools That Work

Yesterday’s blog post got a pretty interesting comment that I just had to reply:

It’s forbidden in universities to use flowcharts for software documentation.

I don’t care what they say at the university. If my gameplay can be described using (1) bunch of notes and (2) a flow chart so that I benefit from it, then I use my flowchart. I’m familiar with it and it solves the problem.

Not saying that NSD couldn’t be used in this, but to me it just looks bit different syntax in more compact view. Might be wrong, but since basic flow charts work for me, I use them. I don’t use them to document stuff. I use them to help me for example coding stuff.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. That’s exactly why it’s not allowed in universities. You are not even allowed to just code, but you must first define the precondition, invariant and postcondition. Programming at universities is mostly theoretical, and the practice part is also very strict and based on theoretical programming.

    However, it’s a very good thing to learn that strictness and discipline, and although in practice you don’t use it always, you still have it in the back of your mind. For example in university programming exercices you can’t use Chr(48) to represent the zero symbol, because it might be different on different systems, however if you use Asc(‘0’), then it works always on all platforms (little endian, big endian, bi-endian, etc…).

  2. I think NSD stuff actually can be quite helpful when it comes to programming. It’s pretty much pseudo code – you can continue with any programming language from there.

    I’m not suggesting that NSD would be bad idea. I just feel that it’s not necessarily the best solution to things. I like basic flow charts and when kept simple, they can provide much value.

  3. Well, it’s easier to think and develop a flowchart because at any time you can draw a funky line and add a new section if you get a new idea. With NSD you might have to redo the whole schematic.
    And another thing: never take anybody’s word. Don’t throw away something just because someone told you so. Ask for details and take your own decision. If your teacher says “don’t use it” ask “why”. If the teacher says “because I say so” he’s an idiot :)

  4. I agree, most of the stuff you learn at university cannot be applied in a work environment.
    For software design, i use Flowcharts, and it just works fine. The alternatives are messy, are hard to understand, and most of the people you work with never heard of them.

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