Procedural programming

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Procedural programming can sometimes be used as a synonym for imperative programming (specifying the steps the program must take to reach the desired state), but can also refer (as in this article) to a programming paradigm, derived from structured programming, based upon the concept of the procedure call. Procedures, also known as routines, subroutines, methods, or functions (not to be confused with mathematical functions, but similar to those used in functional programming) simply contain a series of computational steps to be carried out. Any given procedure might be called at any point during a program's execution, including by other procedures or itself.[1]

Some good examples of procedural programs are the Linux Kernel, Git, Apache Server, and Quake III Arena.[citation needed]


Procedures and modularity

Modularity is generally desirable, especially in large, complicated programs. Inputs are usually specified syntactically in the form of arguments and the outputs delivered as return values.

Scoping is another technique that helps keep procedures strongly modular. It prevents the procedure from accessing the variables of other procedures (and vice-versa), including previous instances of itself, without explicit authorization.

Less modular procedures, often used in small or quickly written programs, tend to interact with a large number of variables in the execution environment, which other procedures might also modify.

Because of the ability to specify a simple interface, to be self-contained, and to be reused, procedures are a convenient vehicle for making pieces of code written by different people or different groups, including through programming libraries.

(See Module and Software package.)

Comparison with imperative programming

Procedural programming languages are also imperative languages, because they make explicit references to the state of the execution environment. This could be anything from variables (which may correspond to processor registers) to something like the position of the "turtle" in the Logo programming language.

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