What is a Flowchart?

A Flowchart is a type of diagram (graphical or symbolic) that represents an algorithm or process. Each step in the process is represented by a different symbol and contains a short description of the process step. The flow chart symbols are linked together with arrows showing the process flow direction. A flowchart typically shows the flow of data in a process, detailing the operations/steps in a pictorial format which is easier to understand than reading it in a textual format.

A flowchart describes what operations (and in what sequence) are required to solve a given problem. A flowchart can be likened to the blueprint of a building. As we know a designer draws a blueprint before starting construction on a building. Similarly, a programmer prefers to draw a flowchart prior to writing a computer program. Flowcharts are a pictorial or graphical representation of a process. The purpose of all flow charts is to communicate how a process works or should work without any technical or group specific jargon.

Flowcharts are used in analyzing, designing, documenting or managing a process or program in various fields.

Flowcharts are generally drawn in the early stages of formulating computer solutions. Flowcharts often facilitate communication between programmers and business people. These flowcharts play a vital role in the programming of a problem and are quite helpful in understanding the logic of complicated and lengthy problems. Once the flowchart is drawn, it becomes easy to write the program in any high level language. Often we see how flowcharts are helpful in explaining the program to others. Hence, it is correct to say that a flowchart is a must for the better documentation of a complex program.

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