English


All right, I was talking about my habits, but what about large scale industrial projects? Are there any which rely heavily, if not entirely, on flowcharts?

The answer is yes and it comes from rocket science. Probably the largest project I am aware of that used flowcharts is the software for the Russian space shuttle called Buran. Unlike the US space shuttles, the Russian one was unmanned and the software did all the work on the way to space and back. During the whole software development process they used the programming language called DRAKON and the language uses flowchart-like diagrams on all stages. The developers could not use text at all.

The project proved to be very successful: Buran reached space and came back safe and sound. The reports claim that the low level of software mistakes in the project and the speed of development should thank the chosen approach of using diagrams instead of text. A similar approach is still in use for some space related projects as far as I know.

The successful use of flowcharts in lieu of text for such a large scale project supports the idea that the same approach could benefit every developer. Unfortunately some specific constraints prevent me from using DRAKON in my professional area.