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Heresy on high-level languages

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131383D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 20K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

R. N. Coffin: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

For many years now a barrage of criticism has been leveled at such ";primitive and unstructured"; languages as Fortran and Basic, and the virtues of ";goto-less"; programming have been loudly proclaimed. Supposedly sophisticated languages such as Algol, or new languages such as Pascal, have been extolled for their elegance and style. Typical of this theme was the panel discussion, reported in the April 1978 Computer,. in which ";Pascal emerged as a serious contender to replace Basic"; and was touted for its "; 'elegant' notational form"; and its ";completeness."; Reality intruded slightly with the grudging concession that Basic would ";probably also be supported."; In a subsequent flight of fantasy, however, Fortran was declared ";definitely out of serious consideration for most micros, now and in the foreseeable future."; See ";Workshop Report: Microcomputer l/O, Peripherals, and Software."; Com peter, April 1978, p. 90. I do not use Pascal, Algol, or APL at present for very good reasons: basically they use too much memory space and run too slowly (or not at all) on my PDP-llV03 (28K-word plus floppy disks). In terms of computing power, they offer me nothing that Fortran IV does not. Admittedly, Fortran may take longer to say something than APL, but I can't type APL on a standard keyboard very easily (and I can't read it when I've written it)

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1979 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Heresy on high-level languages

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R. N. Coffin

For many years now a barrage of criticism has been leveled at such "primitive and unstructured" languages as Fortran and Basic, and the virtues of "goto-less" programming have been loudly proclaimed. Supposedly sophisticated languages such as Algol, or new languages such as Pascal, have been extolled for their elegance and style. Typical of this theme was the panel discussion, reported in the April 1978 Computer,. in which "Pascal emerged as a serious contender to replace Basic" and was touted for its " 'elegant' notational form" and its "completeness." Reality intruded slightly with the grudging concession that Basic would "probably also be supported." In a subsequent flight of fantasy, however, Fortran was declared "definitely out of serious consideration for most micros, now and in the foreseeable future."

See "Workshop Report: Microcomputer l/O, Peripherals, and Software." Com peter, April 1978,
p. 90.

I do not use Pascal, Algol, or APL at present for very good reasons: basically they use too much memory space and run too slowly (or not at all) on my PDP-llV03 (28K-word plus floppy disks). In terms of computing power, they offer me nothing that Fortran IV does not. Admittedly, Fortran may take longer to say something than APL, but I can't type APL on a standard keyboard very easily (and I can't read it when I've written it)

Similar criticisms of APL and Pascal for micros -- too big and too slow -- can be found in early 1978 issues of Byte. Perhaps too many academics and others in a position to speak and be heard are doing too much speaking and not enough hearing. Surely the workshop comment that Fortran is definitely out for most micros falls flat on its face in the light of the full-page advertisement on the back cover of the very same issue of Computer -- a Cromemco advertisement for its Z-80 disk system featuring Fortran IV, Basic, Macro, and a linking loader. Were the workshop participants right and Cromemco wrong, or has Cromemco, which stands or falls on its sales to the fin...