Structured programming is a programming paradigm aimed at improving the clarity, quality, and development time of a computer program by making extensive use of the structured control flow constructs of selection (if/then/else) and repetition (while and for loop), block structures, and subroutines.

Following the structured program theorem, all programs are seen as composed of control structures:

  • "Sequence"; ordered statements or subroutines executed in sequence.
  • "Selection"; one or a number of statements is executed depending on the state of the program. This is usually expressed with keywords such as if..then..else..endif. The conditional statement should have at least one true condition and each condition should have one exit point at max.
  • "Iteration"; a statement or block is executed until the program reaches a certain state, or operations have been applied to every element of a collection. This is usually expressed with keywords such as while, repeat, for or do..until. Often it is recommended that each loop should only have one entry point (and in the original structural programming, also only one exit point, and a few languages enforce this).
  • "Recursion"; a statement is executed by repeatedly calling itself until termination conditions are met. While similar in practice to iterative loops, recursive loops may be more computationally efficient and are implemented differently as a cascading stack.