Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programming la

glen herrmannsfeldt <gah@ugcs.caltech.edu>
Mon, 12 Mar 2012 05:49:46 +0000 (UTC)

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Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin mikedunlavey44@gmail.com (Michael Dunlavey) (2012-03-09)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin derek@_NOSPAM_knosof.co.uk (Derek M. Jones) (2012-03-10)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin cr88192@hotmail.com (BGB) (2012-03-09)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin cr88192@hotmail.com (BGB) (2012-03-09)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin haberg-news@telia.com (Hans Aberg) (2012-03-10)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin thomas.mertes@gmx.at (2012-03-11)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin gah@ugcs.caltech.edu (glen herrmannsfeldt) (2012-03-12)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin gah@ugcs.caltech.edu (glen herrmannsfeldt) (2012-03-12)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin haberg-news@telia.com (Hans Aberg) (2012-03-13)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin cr88192@hotmail.com (BGB) (2012-03-13)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin robin51@dodo.com.au (robin) (2012-03-11)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin jthorn@astro.indiana-zebra.edu (Jonathan Thornburg \[remove -animal to reply\]) (2012-03-14)
Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin gah@ugcs.caltech.edu (glen herrmannsfeldt) (2012-03-14)
[33 later articles]
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From: glen herrmannsfeldt <gah@ugcs.caltech.edu>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 05:49:46 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: Aioe.org NNTP Server
References: 12-03-019
Keywords: design, history

SLK Systems <slkpg3@gmail.com> wrote:


(snip)


> By "significant developments" and "standardizing" I meant that for
> programmers to have settled on 1 hardware/OS architecture and 1
> programming language is something new, and good. The time to which you
> refer was the wild west of both, with new kids on the block every
> year.


> Most subsequent languages have copied the C *syntax*. For example, i++
> is now a fairly standard idiom. Certainly fortran is still in wide
> use, but who copies its syntax? Well, I guess C did borrow from its
> formatted I/O...


As I understand it, Fortran introduced the multi-character variable
name, pretty much universal in programming languages, but
mathematicians haven't caught on yet.


> How many Burroughs machines are now in use? Point is that Wintel
> overwhelmed all other architectures, not that it invented the system
> call. I claim this is a good thing for ease of code portability and
> reuse.


Many systems have system calls that are similar enough to code
around in high-level languages. Things like file name convention
differences are also not so hard to work around.


> Why is this defacto standarization good? Because AMD can go from
> nothing to a huge software base overnight. Because Apple can run
> windows software. Because I can read and understand javascript without
> having learned it. An if statement is an if statement, but settling on
> a singe syntax for it is beneficial.


The logical IF seems to work about the same in many languages.
The exact syntax varies, such as the need for parentheses and
the use of THEN and ELSE keywords.


> Not that I am complaining about the variety of programming languages.
> Migrating from brand X to C++ or java is what keeps me in business.


(snip)
> [I'm not sure a software monoculture is an innovation, much less
> an interesting one. IBM faced antitrust suits in the 1960s and 70s
> in both the US and Europe because their mainframes and OS/360 were
> so dominant. And as far as who copies Fortran syntax, every time
> you write a=b+c or if(a>b)c=d, or function foo(x,y), you're
> writing in Fortran. -John]


Well, the arithmetic IF was Fortran original. Logical IF didn't come
until later. I believe not until Fortran IV, though I am not so sure
what did and didn't come in the different versions of Fortran II.


I would have thought that the logical IF came from ALGOL before
Fortran.


I have "History of Programming Languages" edited by Richard Wexelblat,
which might explain some of this. A good reference for the origins of
many programming language features.


-- glen
[You're right about the Algol stuff. Dunno whether Hopper's commercial
translator predated Fortran wrt multi-character variables. -John]



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