[rescue] IBM flowchart templates?

Sheldon T. Hall shel at artell.net
Sat Jan 3 03:14:28 CST 2009

 Saith Bill Bradford ...

> Anybody got one or two in a drawer?  
> This is for nostalgia reasons.[1]
> Ebay has NOTHING right now.
> Bill
> [1] I was in FBLA, Future Business Leaders of America, in 
> junior high and high school (1989-1993).  Three years in
> a row, I placed in the top ten in the "Computer 
> Applications Programming for Business"[2] event, two of
> those years as #1.  Those #1 finishes earned me free 
> trips to the national convention, where I placed 10th 
> and 7th.
> [2] "Here's a business problem.  Write a program to solve
> it[3], and provide flowchart logic, printer output
> diagrams, etc."
> [3] In longhand.  We had nothing but lined paper, graph 
> paper, template sheets, maybe a ruler, and a flowchart
> template.  We didn't actually have computers in front
> of us.

My first programming job was like that, over and over.  Design the program,
make the flowcharts, show the proposed reports, get it all approved, etc.
Then you wrote the program on coding sheets and sent those to the keypunch
department.  When you got back the punched media (in our case, paper tape,
later punched cards), you gave it to the computer operators to compile and
run during some slack time, usually overnight.  If it ran, you got back a
report.  If it didn't, you got a core dump.  On paper.

Yeah, it took a while.  Even a one-line change to a program could take a
couple of days.

On the other hand, I once had to drag out a program that hadn't been used in
several years, update it, and make it part of our normal production process.
These days, that can be a tough job, since the comments in the code are
probably the only documentation, and comments tend to get out of synch with
the code itself.  Back then, though, keeping the flowcharts and program
narrative updated was virtually a fetish in our shop; you did it and got it
approved before you changed the code itself.  Making the mods and getting
that old program into production was a piece of cake.

Not that I want the old days back, you understand, but some part of it, like
the level of documentation and the care taken at the design stage, could
stand a revival.


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