# What is structured programming (was for/while else doesn't make sense)

Rustom Mody rustompmody at gmail.com
Thu Jun 16 07:12:52 EDT 2016

```On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 11:27:15 AM UTC+5:30, Lawrence D’Oliveiro wrote:
> On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 5:48:48 PM UTC+12, Rustom Mody wrote:
> > On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 8:25:10 AM UTC+5:30, Lawrence D’Oliveiro wrote:
> > So here is the formal definition I remember from decades ago:
> >
> > A structured flow-graph is one that has a single point of entry and exit.
> > And is recursively made from smaller structured flow graphs
> > With a finite set of 'graph combinators'
> >
> > A structured program is one who's flow graph is structured
> >
> > As I said I dont find this definition very useful since
> > break is unstructured as is return, yield and much else.
>
> On the contrary, it fits in nicely. Imagine trying to represent your code as a Nassi-Shneiderman diagram. This consists (recursively) of nested and/or concatenated sub-diagrams. Each piece has one entry point at the top, and one exit point at the bottom. In particular, it is *not possible* to express a goto that jumps from one arbitrary point to another--everything must strictly nest.
>
> For example, a loop is entered at the top, and exited at the bottom. A “break” in the loop can cut it short, but it cannot violate this rule.
>
> Even my C code follows this nesting principle, because it is goto-free.

| Nassi–Shneiderman diagrams have no representation for a GOTO statement.

which seems to be what you are saying. But then next para goes on...

| Nassi–Shneiderman diagrams are (almost) isomorphic with
| flowcharts. Everything you can represent with a Nassi–Shneiderman
| diagram you can also represent with a flowchart. For flowcharts
| of programs, almost everything you can represent with a flowchart
| you can also represent with a Nassi–Shneiderman diagram. The
| exceptions are constructs like goto and the C programming
| language break and continue statements for loops.

which is in line with what I am saying, viz that break/continue/goto are same
in the sense of being 'unstructured' and therefore do not fit into a structured
framework like NSDs
```