What Does Procedure Mean?

In computer programming, a procedure is an independent code module that fulfills some concrete task and is referenced within a larger body of source code. This kind of code item can also be called a function or a sub-routine. The fundamental role of a procedure is to offer a single point of reference for some small goal or task that the developer or programmer can trigger by invoking the procedure itself.


A procedure may also be referred to as a function, subroutine, routine, method or subprogram.

Techopedia Explains Procedure

The basic idea of a code procedure grew out of the desire to make code more efficient. Early linear code programs often lacked the versatility and sophistication that would allow for more complex processes in code. By using a procedure, a programmer can make a program do that one thing in many different ways, using different parameters and sets of data, simply by invoking the procedure with different variables attached.

In many computer programming languages, procedures are specifically defined in various ways. The code for a procedure will be stored within identifiers for that procedure to mark it as separate from the larger code. In some cases, procedures are part of external libraries that can be called by developers from those library files. In other cases, they are written in customized ways within the program. The procedure is a basic building block for what’s called object oriented programming, which has brought a more powerful set of tools to today’s developer community.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.