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Table of contents
Programming Paradigms
Functional programming
Pros of Functional Programming
Drawbacks of Functional Programming
Application of Functional Programming
Pure Functions
Procedural Programming
Pros of procedural programming
Cons of procedural programming
Application of procedural programming
Difference between Procedural and Functional Programming
Why is functional programming preferable to procedural programming?
Frequently asked questions
What are the procedures?
What is procedural programming?
What are functions?
What is Functional Programming?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Functional versus Procedural Programming Models

Author Saumya Gupta
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Functions and procedures are very different from each other. They both are Unique and possess other qualities. They both can use in Big Data in a very efficient way.

So today, in this blog, we will learn all the information related to functional and procedural programming models. 

Programming Paradigms

Before discussing programming models, we have to understand what programming paradigms are? It is just about writing code, but how you write and organize your code. It is not a syntax feature, and it is not a unique feature exposed by the browser or anything like this; it's just how you structure your code and how you reason about the program listing, so how your code is organized.

In the end, there are three paradigms you can follow.

  1. Functional programming.
  2. Procedural programming
  3. Object-oriented programming.

Today we are going to discuss functional and procedural programming only.

We mainly use functional and procedural programming to implement the MapReduce technique in big data. Let's dig deeper into it.

Also See, procedure call in compiler design

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Functional programming

As the name suggests, functional programming means programming through functions. In this type of programming, we organize code in pure- function with clearly defined tasks.

You get all the data modules needed as a parameter, and this function also often results in something new. So you pass data around with parameters, and your functions are your way of organizing your code.

The pure functional style is the output only depends on the input, and it does not depend on what comes before (history doesn't matter at all). The fundamental thing of functional language is that data and procedure, state and behavior, are separate, unlike encapsulated.

Pros of Functional Programming

  • Utilization of Pure Functions
    Pure functions always provide the same output and are unaffected by extraneous variables. Algorithms written in functional programming are easier to debug because of this feature of pure functions. While most functional programming languages provide similar benefits when using pure functions, Haskell distinguishes between pure and impure functions. 

    Pure functions are based on mathematics. If you put 2+2 into a calculator, the response will always be 4. The same goes for pure functions. There is no third component, resulting in a functional program as pure as feasible.
  • Transparency at its best
    Functional programming is entirely transparent thanks to the use of pure functions. The clear distinction between pure and impure functions in functional programming languages significantly improves the degree of transparency these systems attain.
    Pure functions work entirely and solely with the user's inputs.

    Object-oriented programs frequently interact with other inputs and produce outputs that aren't always immediately related to the user's input.
    Functional programming does not use intermediary pieces, and the algorithm can only work with what the user offers. As a result, whatever the outcome is, it is immediately tied to the input and has no 'hidden' aspect.
  • Readability has improved
    Functional programming has the benefit of improved readability of values and lazy evaluation.
    The benefit of using pure values does not end with state transitions. The value also makes the software more readable, making it easier for the developer to understand.

    The majority of functional programming languages are said to as 'high-level.' Furthermore, because every function is treated as a value, it Is more accessible for the user to recall the functional program and later apply those values in other functions.
  • Parallel Programming in a Streamlined Way
    Any discussion of functional programming, particularly its benefits, would be incomplete without mentioning its capacity to create seamless, parallel programs. Parallel application development is one of the most popular use cases, especially among Scala developers that use functional programming.

    The static use of variables in functional programming languages is the fundamental component that makes this possible. Because pure functions do not change variables and just work with the user's inputs, dealing with parallelism is significantly easier.
    These programs are more reliable, the scope of error is dramatically reduced, and overall efficiency is greatly improved.

Drawbacks of Functional Programming

These characteristics have some drawbacks:

  • Experts generally have no trouble building fast functional programs and Haskell is now used to write some of the best-performing parallel applications on 8,16-core CPUs.
  • Someone learning functional programming is more likely to abandon it before reaching the promised productivity advantages than someone learning Python or Visual Basic. There isn't nearly as much help in books and development tools as in other areas.
  • It's also true that you can't readily communicate with your neighbor since functional programming concepts are more challenging to teach and understand than the object-oriented notions that underpin languages like Smalltalk, Ruby, and Secure+.
  • Furthermore, the object-oriented community has spent years establishing solid explanations for what they do.
  • In contrast, the functional-programming community believes that their work is evident and does not require any specific metaphors or vocabulary to explain.
  • One well-known disadvantage of lazy functional programming (which applies to Haskell or Clean but not to ML, Scheme, or Clojure) is that predicting the time and space costs of evaluating a lazy functional program is extremely difficult—even experts struggle with it. 

Application of Functional Programming

  • When we need to execute various actions on the same data collection, we use functional programming.
  • Machine learning, language processing, speech and vision modeling, and other artificial intelligence applications are all made in Lisp.
  • Some systems, such as Emacs, benefit from embedded Lisp interpreters.
  • In the industry, functional programming is relatively standard. It is, however, only employed in situations when experienced programmers are available. It is unrealistic to expect beginners to understand it. It is used in almost all large programming projects, but only in areas where experienced programmers are involved. The easy modules, which do not require functional programming, will be dealt with by beginners.

Pure Functions

Functional programming is all about pure functions. These functions always lead programmers to a safe way of programming as pure functions are highly secure. These function purely focuses on the input parameters. Hence there are significantly fewer chances for an error to occur.

Pure functions assure high security. That's why they must take at least one parameter.

In pure functions, debugging is an effortless task. 

Procedural Programming

Now, we will talk about the type of programming used very early in programming, i.e., procedural programming.

First of all, have a look at what is procedures?

A procedure is something that takes input(one or more), does some work on that input, and produces output as results. The idea of a procedure is compelling, and this allows us to use a small amount of code to do many different things.

Now, what is procedural programming?
Procedure-oriented programming is a programming paradigm based on subroutines or procedure calls. They consist of sequential steps that perform some specified tasks.

Features of procedural programming:

  1. Modularity
    It involves breaking down a complex problem into tiny chunks so that it can be solved quickly. It entails breaking down the program's functionality into smaller, independent sections, each of which may do the function for which it was created.

    The concept of modularity in procedural programming indicates that a large program is divided into smaller sections, each of which performs a single task. These modules or parts complete duties one by one before delivering the ultimate product.
  2. Pre-defined functions
    In a program, a function is a method that can be invoked by its name. Built-in functions refer to predefined functions. They are a collection of subroutines that perform specialized functions.
    These functions are typically included in high-level programming languages like Python and C++, but they can also be loaded into the programming language via registries or libraries.
  3. Global Variable
    In contrast to a local variable, a global variable is defined outside a function. Because of this, it can be used anywhere in the program, i.e., its
    scope is the entire program, as opposed to a local variable, which only has scope within the code block where it was defined.

    Global variables can be used everywhere in the program and in any function. Any function in the program can change its values. The global environment is a collection of global variables that can be used anywhere in the application. Signal handlers and concurrent threads, for example, employ global variables to convey information between various areas of code that do not have a caller relationship.
  4. Parameter passing
    Multiple methods can be used to pass parameters to a function. The four-parameter passing techniques are listed and discussed below:

    Pass by value
    In-mode semantics are used in pass-by-value mode. Any changes to the parameter are not transmitted to the caller while using this method. Changes to the parameter are solely reflected in the separate storage location, and they have no effect on where the function is invoked.

    Pass by reference
    In/out-mode semantics are used in this procedure. Changes to the parameter are conveyed back to the place where the function is called using this approach.

    Pass by the name
    The variable's name is passed in parameter passing, allowing it to be accessed and altered.

Pros of procedural programming

This paradigm takes a top-down, linear approach to data and methods and sees them as two different things. Procedural Programming separates a program into procedures, sometimes known as routines or functions, and comprises a set of actions to be carried out based on a procedure call.

Procedural programming is laying down a list of instructions that teach the computer how to complete a task step by step. So, procedural programming has various advantages, which are given below

  • The specified simplicity, as well as the ease of implementation of compilers and interpreters, make procedural programming ideal for general-purpose programming.
  • A wide range of books and online course materials on tested algorithms are available, making it easy to study as you go.
  • Because the source code is portable, it can also be used to target a different CPU.
  • It is unnecessary to replicate the code because it can be reused in different portions of the application.
  • The memory need is also reduced using the Procedural Programming approach.
  • The program's flow can be easily followed.

Cons of procedural programming

When Procedural Programming is used, the computer code is more challenging to write.

Because procedural code is frequently not reusable, it may be necessary to rebuild it if required for usage in another application.

  • Relationships with real-world objects are complex.
  • The procedure is prioritized over the data, which may cause problems in data-sensitive situations.
  • Because the data is visible to the entire program, it is not very secure.
  • There are various types of programming paradigms, which are nothing more than programming styles. It's crucial to realize that the paradigm doesn't cater to a specific language but rather how a program is written.

Application of procedural programming

  • Because the procedural technique is very straightforward to grasp, it is frequently utilized when learning to program. It's also suitable for systems that aren't very complicated and don't have a lot of interconnected subsystems.
  • Procedural programming is programming that is used to calculate scientific and technical problems. Calculations are done with it. It is made up of fluid movement that occurs throughout the program.
  • This is ideal for simple systems with a small number of interconnected sub-systems.
  • C, Pascal, and PHP are examples of procedural programming languages.

Difference between Procedural and Functional Programming

The difference between Procedural programming and Functional programming is as follows:-


Why is functional programming preferable to procedural programming?

Procedural programming tells the computer what to perform step by step using a precise list of instructions. Iteration is a technique for repeating a series of steps as many times as necessary. Every computation is treated as a mathematical function in functional programming, a problem-solving approach.

Recursion is a big part of functional programming. A recursive function can repeat itself until it reaches a specific condition. This is analogous to the usage of iteration in procedural programming, but instead of a series of steps, it is applied to a single function. Erlang, Haskell, Lisp, and Scala are examples of functional programming languages.

We do not have the facility of using recursion in procedural programming, and we all computer geeks know that recursion is very important for us.

Recursion makes our complex tasks easy, which is one of the biggest reasons functional programming is preferable to procedural programming.

Also, we can use functional programming in advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, but on the other hand, procedural programming can not be a part of these technologies.

Frequently asked questions

What are the procedures?

Procedures are a series of well-structured sequential steps

What is procedural programming?

Procedural programming is a type of programming paradigm which mainly focuses on procedure calls.

What are functions?

Functions are a part of a chunk of a program that provides the facility of reusability.

What is Functional Programming?

Functional programming is a programming paradigm in which programmers describe the logic using modules or functions.


In this article, we have extensively discussed functional programming versus procedural programming. We have seen how these two programming paradigms are different from each other. 

We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge regarding functional and procedural programming and if you would like to learn more, check out articles on Big data, Hadoop Azure, Cloud Data+Mining, and many more.

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