Re: Compiler and interpreter origins

Dave Thompson <david.thompson1@worldnet.att.net>
23 Aug 2004 12:05:38 -0400

          From comp.compilers

Related articles
[5 earlier articles]
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins nick.roberts@acm.org (Nick Roberts) (2004-08-09)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins nmm1@cus.cam.ac.uk (2004-08-09)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins slimick@venango.upb.pitt.edu (John Slimick) (2004-08-09)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins Martin.Ward@durham.ac.uk (Martin Ward) (2004-08-10)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins samiam@moorecad.com (Scott Moore) (2004-08-10)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins beliavsky@aol.com (2004-08-11)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins david.thompson1@worldnet.att.net (Dave Thompson) (2004-08-23)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins jeremy.wright@microfocus.com (Jeremy Wright) (2004-08-25)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins torbenm@diku.dk (2004-09-03)
Re: Compiler and interpreter origins gah@ugcs.caltech.edu (glen herrmannsfeldt) (2004-09-07)
| List of all articles for this month |

From: Dave Thompson <david.thompson1@worldnet.att.net>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 23 Aug 2004 12:05:38 -0400
Organization: AT&T Worldnet
References: 04-07-077 04-08-010 04-08-033
Keywords: history, Cobol

On 9 Aug 2004 00:28:14 -0400, "Nick Roberts" <nick.roberts@acm.org>
wrote:


> On 4 Aug 2004 02:44:48 -0400, Jeff Kenton <Jeffrey.Kenton@comcast.net>
[ asked about selfmodifying code in the Good Old Days ]


> Originally, the COBOL language had an
>
> ALTER x TO PROCEED TO y
>
> statement, which modified a GOTO statement (itself labelled x),
> changing its destination from whatever it was before to y. As you can
> imagine, programmers could -- and generally did -- achieve the most
> spectacularly obfuscated code with this statement. It became quite
> notorious, and quickly became deprecated and then removed from
> compilers altogether.
>
ALTER and "GO TO dot" are/were still in the 1985 standard, although
deprecated; I believe they have finally been actually removed in 2002
or thereabouts, I haven't been following closely, which is not very
quick as I think the first COBOL was mid-50's. I know of at least a
couple of compilers still in active use that implement -85 and so
support this "feature" -- though as you indicate it should be
violently shunned by all right-thinking programmers.


> Unfortunately, I think things have swung too far the other way, in
> that even the humble GOTO is now considered verboten. Silly.


- David.Thompson1 at worldnet.att.net


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