An Action Diagram provides a graphical overview of the structural elements of the software in addition to pseudo-code like text.  Use an Action Diagram to represent either the high level overview of software structure or the detailed program logic.




To build an action diagram perform the following major steps:


·          Identify the process and data components and their relationships.

·          Develop the action diagram.


Identify the Process and Data Components and their Relationships


Identify the process components, that is the steps that are part of the process.  The level of detail encompassed by a process component depends on the source.  The process components could be identified based on the elements on a structure chart, an initial top-level decomposition of a business process, or even from code that you're trying to debug by analyzing its structure.


Consider how the process components relate to each other.  Does one depend on the result of another?  Can they be done in any order? 


Identify what data is used as input to each process component and what data results.


Develop the Action Diagram


Use the diagram constructs: sequence, repetition, condition, module, and data store, to develop an Action Diagram that represents the structure of the process as identified.  See also:


            Representing Sequence, Repetition, and Condition on an Action Diagram.


            Other Components on an Action Diagram.


Continue to analyze and refine the Action Diagram until the desired level of detail is reached.




            an Action Diagram that depicts the general structure of a program:


            an Action Diagram that depicts the detailed logic:


Tips and Hints


Action Diagram editors, available for personal computers, allow users to create, modify, and validate Action Diagrams quickly.


Action Diagrams can be derived from correctly drawn Dependency Diagrams, Data Navigation Diagrams, or Decision Trees.


Action Diagrams may be decomposed into program code.  Some CASE tools generate program code directly from Action Diagrams.


When fourth generation languages or any programming language are used, wording from them may be used on the Action Diagram.




Martin, James and McClure, Carma.    Diagramming Techniques for Analysis and Programmers.  Prentice-Hall, Inc: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.


Martin, James and McClure, Carma.    Action Diagrams, Clearly Structured Specifications, Programs, and Procedures.  Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

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