My commodity on Fortran, This is Not Your Father’s FORTRAN, brought aback a lot of memories about the language. It additionally reminded me of added languages from my time at academy and anon thereafter, say pre-1978.
At that time there were the three aboriginal languages – FORTRAN, LISP, and COBOL. These originals are still acclimated although none accomplish the lists of accepted languages. I never did any COBOL but did some appointment with Pascal, Forth, and SNOBOL which are from that era. Of those, SNOBOL bound achromatic but the others are still around. SNOBOL was a argument processing accent that basically absent out to AWK, PERL, and approved expressions. Given how cryptic approved expressions are it’s amazing addition accent from that time, APL – A Programming Language, didn’t survive. APL was referred to as a ‘write alone language’ because it was generally easier to artlessly carbon a allotment of cipher than to alter it.
Another accent admirable acknowledgment is Algol, if alone because Pascal is a descendant, forth with many avant-garde languages. Algol was consistently added accepted alfresco the US, apparently because anybody there ashore with FORTRAN.
Back afresh assertive books captivated iconic status, abundant like [McCracken’s] atramentous FORTRAN IV. In the aboriginal 70s, advertence [Nicolas Wirth] or the chicken book brought to apperception Pascal. Similarly, [Griswold, (R. E.)] was SNOBOL and a blooming book. For some reason, [Griswold’s] two co-authors never were mentioned, clashing the afterwards duo of [Kernighan] & [Ritchie] with their white “The C Programming Language”. Seeing that book years afterwards on an Italian coworker’s bookshelf translated to Italian gave my apperception a accessory boggling. Join me for a airing bottomward the anamnesis lane that got our programming apple to area it is today.
The architect of Pascal, [Nicholas Wirth], was commodity of an iconoclast of his times. Pascal was a apostasy adjoin Algol 60, which he acquainted was ever complicated and not advantageous for absolute work. I’d adulation to apprehend his assessment of Java and C . Alive afterwards the constraints of a standards board he pared Algol bottomward to the basal to actualize Pascal.
[Wirth] was a hacker at heart:
Every distinct activity was primarily a acquirements experiment. One learns best aback inventing. Alone by absolutely accomplishing a development activity can I accretion abundant acquaintance with the built-in difficulties and abundant aplomb that the inherent capacity can be mastered. – From Programming Accent Design To Computer Construction, Niklaus Wirth 1984 ACM A.M. Turing Award Recipient Lecture.
The accent was so bunched it was absolutely declared and authentic in a 58 folio book, about a pamphlet. This included assuming it in Backus-Naur Form, and a atypical clear representation that became accepted as railroad diagrams. Actuality visually aggressive I absolutely admired that representation.
An absorbing affection is Pascal was bootstrapped into existence. A bootstrapped language’s compiler is accounting in itself, application the aboriginal subset possible. That compiler is afresh duke accounting in addition language, apparently Fortran for that time frame. Already the duke accounting compiler works you can augment its executable the compiler cipher accounting in the new language. Out comes an executable that will now abridge itself. From there you can abode the added appearance in the accent itself. Bootstrapping was a benefaction for computer science acceptance as it provided them with a alive compiler they could extend and drudge but was still baby abundant to comprehend.
Pascal was a one canyon compiler while about all added languages accomplish assorted passes through the cipher or average outputs. This fabricated accumulation fast. A check was it didn’t accommodate abundant optimization.
Some Pascal code:
You can see the accord of Pascal to accepted languages like C, C , and Java, all acquired from versions of Algol. One of the big complaints about Pascal is it didn’t use semi-colons enough. You can see in the archetype there is no semicolon above-mentioned to the final end. Addition appropriate is the keywords begin and end marked blocks of code, area in today’s languages we use braces.
Pascal is still in use, having acquired boundless acceptance with the appearance of the PC. The aboriginal PC compiler acclimated UCSD Pascal P-code, an analyst agent abundant like today’s Java. P-code was developed to acquiesce accessible porting of the accent to new machines, the basal apparatus actuality easier to abode than a compiler.
The big bang for Pascal on the PC was the absolution of Borland’s Turbo Pascal (TP) in 1983. It was bargain so hackers could acquiesce it and it had an chip programming toolkit, what we’d today alarm an IDE.
I lay affirmation to application TP for an early, if not first, automated usage. A aggregation I led developed the software for an Intel 8088 based breeze computer, i.e. an anchored arrangement acclimated to admeasurement the breeze in pipelines of gas or liquids. I developed an IDE application TP that generated bytecodes that were downloaded to the breeze computer. The butt of the aggregation developed the breeze computer software which included an analyst for the bytecodes. The arrangement was basically Lotus 1-2-3 – Excel for you youngsters – for pipelines aback end users could advance their own code.
Turbo Pascal added commodity aggressive appearance in the ’90s and assuredly morphed into Delphi.
SNOBOL was acclimated for processing argument and symbols. The name absolutely isn’t meaningful, although some approved to admit acronyms and portmanteaus. Griswold and others were sitting about talking about the name, cutting elastic bands, aback they absitively they “…didn’t accept a snowball’s adventitious in hell in award a name.” They beneath ‘snow’ and commissioned ‘BOL’, which was the catastrophe for abounding languages of that time.
(Rubber bands were acclimated on agenda decks so cutting them was a admired alarmist amusement aback then. I attempt a cigarette out of a adolescent ladies’ aperture with a elastic bandage once. I was good!)
Here is some cipher to accord you a faculty of the language:
Like abounding langauges of the time SNOBOL acclimated a distinct bandage agenda architecture with a appropriate banderole appearance acceptance assiduity assimilate added cards. The aboriginal acreage was a destination label. The average acreage independent the programming statements. The appropriate best field, afterward a ‘:’, was analysis and jump.
The OUTPUT and INPUT curve are adequately accessible as is the assignment. Afterwards the appointment are two curve that accomplish a arrangement bout to see if the belletrist ‘J’ or ‘K’ are in Username. If the belletrist arise the bandage succeeds. On success, flagged by the ‘S‘ in the analysis field, a jump is fabricated to the destination label. You could additionally ‘F‘ail, do both, or aloof jump, as apparent by the jump to END in the code.
SNOBOL did all the argument abetment you would expect: concatenation, replacement, extraction, etc. It additionally did the accepted algebraic operations.
It was an absorbing accent to comedy with; actual accessible to accept and appointment with.
Forth is an arresting accent in assorted ways. It came neither from the computer industry nor academia. [Chuck Moore] developed it alive a cardinal of jobs but it came to accomplishment at the National Radio Astronomy Anchor developing anchored systems for the Kitt Peak observatory. From the start, Forth was meant to be portable. Aback [Chuck] afflicted jobs he capital to booty his toolkit along.
Forth is a threaded language. In our added acceptable languages cipher is translated into a arrangement of absolute or basal apparatus opcodes. The apparatus afresh accomplish through the op-codes. In a threaded accent alone archaic operations are coded as opcodes. In Forth these primitives are the basal words of the language. All added authentic words are congenital on the primitives.
Instead of opcodes a threaded accent food the abode of the word. An close analyst in Forth accomplish through this account of addresses. If the abode is that of a archaic chat the opcodes are executed. Aback it is a authentic chat the close analyst all-overs to that arrangement and begins walking its account of addresses. A chat at the end of a arrangement causes a acknowledgment to the antecedent chat definition. The action is aboveboard and decidedly fast. It additionally makes threaded languages actual portable. Already the primitives and the close analyst are created Forth is appealing abundant up and running. All the blow of the accent is based on authentic words.
An alien analyst provides the user interface. You artlessly blazon in words and they are executed. There are words that acquiesce you to ascertain new words which are added to the dictionary. Revising cipher aback alive at the user interface is easy: you aloof access the chat analogue again. The new analogue overrides the earlier definition.
A accumulation action walks through the concordance selecting alone the words absolutely acclimated by added words, strips out all the genitalia bare for alternate processing, and creates a ‘binary’ absolute the archaic and authentic words that are needed. This, like the beheading speed, is a decidedly bunched representation generally abate than accepted aggregate code.
Forth is like a behemothic hand-held calculator from Hewlett Packard: it uses a assemblage and about-face Polish characters (RPN). To add two numbers you’d enter: 2 3 . This would advance the 2 and 3 assimilate a stack. The would pop them and add them abrogation the resultant, 5, on the stack. While you can ascertain variables best operations are done application the stack.
Here’s a Forth chat analogue and archetype acceptance for squaring a number:
> : sqr dup * ;> 2 sqr .4> 3 sqr .9
A chat analogue starts with the colon. The aboriginal badge afterwards that is the name. It can be anything! Forth generally defines some numbers as words because it is absolutely faster to amount the amount from a chat than catechumen it. If you appetite to drive addition basics you can ascertain 2 as 1 by entering “: 2 1 ;”.
Continuing with the example, the chat dup creates a archetype of the top of the assemblage and the ‘*’ multiplies the top two ethics abrogation the resultant on the stack. In the curve area sqr is acclimated the ‘.’ prints the top of the assemblage and removes the value.
You can try Forth application an online interpreter.
Back in the canicule of computers application CPM as the OS I wrote a argument editor application Forth. The editor accustomed the use of cursor keys, delete, insert, etc. It took alone an hour. My addition to Forth was at the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Forth was acclimated to advance the ascendancy arrangement for the ample laser admixture agreement they were undertaking. I alike went to Manhattan Beach, CA for training at the Forth, Inc. offices. The additional Forth programmer in the world, Elizabeth Rather, was my instructor.
Forth is still actuality acclimated in aerospace and bartering applications.
I appropriate in the Fortran commodity that addition actualize a FortDuino. I can’t accomplish the aforementioned advancement for Forth aback it already exists in assorted incarnations. Besides, that would be adequately easy. It’s what Forth is meant to do. A beyond claiming is a PiForth, or ForthPi, active as the operating systems loaded from the SD card. We’ve apparent a Lisp adaptation so how about Forth? Now that would be interesting.
I achievement you’ve enjoyed these two accessories that absolved through some history of programming languages from my claimed experience. It was fun to accompany aback the memories and brace the capacity by analytic the web. The relationships amid languages are fascinating, which reminds me of one aftermost story.
The University of Rochester’s computer center, by some quirk, was in the basement of a Holiday Inn on the campus. Jean Sammet, addition of the acclaimed ladies in accretion history, backward at the Inn for an ACM conference. She commented that her beddy-bye was abashed because she kept absent of bandage printers for some aberrant reason. Nobody had the affection to acquaint her they may accept been appropriate beneath her room. I recalled this adventure because one of Jean’s books included a blueprint of programming accent ancestor agnate to the blueprint in the aloft link.
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