flo--a Language for Typesetting Flowcharts

Daniel M. Berry

Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON, Canada


flo is a language for including flowcharts into documents typeset using the UNIX ditroff. A basic flowchart can be created with minimal effort by inputting only the basic algorithm written in a Pascal-like notation. flo is a pic preprocessor, which in turn is a ditroff preprocessor. flo lets most of its input pass through untouched; it translates flo commands lying between .FL and .FE into pic commands that draw the flowcharts.

The talk focuses on goals for the flo program, the concept of includable flowchart, the parallel design-implementation-and-testing approach used to build the flo language, program, and manual, and the major semantic issues of laying out flowcharts.

The slides for this talk were typeset camera-ready using flo, pic, ditroff, and other ditroff preprocessors. In particular, all the flowcharts in these slides were prepared using flo.

Joint work with Tony Wolfman