Unit 18 Procedural Programming

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To provide learners with an understanding of the principles of procedural programming and to enable them to design and implement procedural programming solutions.

 Unit abstract

 Irrespective of framework or delivery platform, the development of procedural code is still at the core of many commercial application development projects. Event driven systems and object oriented platforms all use procedural code for the critical command content of their objects, events and listeners. This unit allows learners to become familiar with the underpinning principles of procedural programming. Many languages have the capacity to develop procedural code and it is not important which language is chosen for this unit. Ideally, for learners who are new to programming, this unit would be considered the starting point before progressing onto one (or all) of the many programming units. Whilst the learner is not expected to develop any complex code in this unit, the foundations will enable the development of their programming skills.

Learning outcomes

1. Understand the principles of procedural programming

  • Characteristics of programming: low-level languages; high-level languages; generations eg first, second, third, fourth, fifth; programs; applications; instructions; algorithms
  • Types of language: procedural languages; object-oriented; event-driven; others eg script and mark-up languages; simple overviews and uses
  • Reasons for choice of language: organisational policy; suitability of features and tools; availability of trained staff; reliability; development and maintenance costs; expandability
  • Data structures: variables eg naming conventions, local and global variables, arrays onedimensional,
  • two-dimensional); file structures; loops eg conditional (pre-check, post-check, break-points), fixed; conditional statements; case statements; logical operators; assignment statements; input statements; output statements
  • Data types: constants and literals; integer; floating point; byte; date; boolean; others eg character, string, small int; choice of data types eg additional validation, efficiency of storage
  • Programming syntax: command rules, variable declaration, Standards: use of comments, code layout, indentation

2. Be able to design procedural programming solutions

  • Requirements specification: inputs, outputs, processing, user interface; constraints eg hardware platforms, timescales for development; units; data; file structures.
  • Program design: tools eg structure diagrams, data flow diagrams, entity relationship models, flow charts, pseudo code
  • Technical documentation: requirements specification; others as appropriate to language eg form design, flowcharts, pseudo code, structured English, action charts, data dictionary, class and instance diagrams

3. Be able to implement procedural programming solutions

  • Modular design: elements eg functions, procedures, method, widgets, Graphical User Interface (GUI) components, symbols
  • Software structures: as appropriate to language chosen eg iteration, decisions, units, functions, procedures; control structures; conditional commands
  • Parameters: data types, passing data, return values
  • Scope of variables: global, local, static, overloaded results, instance
  • Programming: use of programming standards; relationship to program design

4. Be able to test procedural programming solutions

  • Mechanisms: valid declarations, debugging code, checking naming conventions; checking functionality against requirements, error detection, error messages, compiler errors, runtime errors, in code response, dry running
  • Supportive documentation: test plan; test results; programmer guidance; user guidance; onscreen help
  • Review: design against specification requirements, interim reviews


  • Davis S R – C++ for Dummies (Wiley, 2009) ISBN-10: 0470317264
  • McBride P K – Turbo Pascal Programming Made Simple (Made Simple, 1997) ISBN 0750632429

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