January 12, 2016

Modern (non)artifacts

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 7:39 pm


My article on Fortran, This is Not Your Father’s FORTRAN, brought back a lot of memories about the language. It also reminded me of other languages from my time at college and shortly thereafter, say pre-1978.

At that time there were the three original languages – FORTRAN, LISP, and COBOL. These originals are still used although none make the lists of popular languages. I never did any COBOL but did some work with Pascal, Forth, and SNOBOL which are from that era. Of those, SNOBOL quickly faded but the others are still around. SNOBOL was a text processing language that basically lost out to AWK, PERL, and regular expressions. Given how cryptic regular expressions are it’s amazing another language from that time, APL – A Programming Language, didn’t survive. APL was referred to as a ‘write only language’ because it was often easier to simply rewrite a piece of code than to debug it.

I learned on Pascal initially, except for a tiny bit of Basic earlier. Then moved on to machine and assembler and (God rot its eternal soul) C. I even did a couple of archaeology programs in it, including an occurrence seriation that was originally in Fortran (I eventually re-translated it into Access Basic). (never did work like it was advertised)

I even did a little bit in COBOL once. Lawdy what a mess.

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