Re: language design after Algol 60

"Robin Vowels" <robin51@dodo.com.au>
Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:11:32 +1000

          From comp.compilers

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[5 earlier articles]
Re: language design after Algol 60, was Add nested-function support anton@mips.complang.tuwien.ac.at (2018-04-10)
Re: language design after Algol 60, was Add nested-function support gneuner2@comcast.net (George Neuner) (2018-04-10)
Re: language design after Algol 60, was Add nested-function support DrDiettrich1@netscape.net (Hans-Peter Diettrich) (2018-04-12)
Re: language design after Algol 60, was Add nested-function support bc@freeuk.com (bartc) (2018-04-12)
Re: language design after Algol 60, was Add nested-function support bc@freeuk.com (bartc) (2018-04-12)
Re: language design after Algol 60, was Add nested-function support martin@gkc.org.uk (Martin Ward) (2018-04-13)
Re: language design after Algol 60 robin51@dodo.com.au (Robin Vowels) (2018-04-14)
Re: language design after Algol 60 robin51@dodo.com.au (Robin Vowels) (2018-04-14)
Re: language design after Algol 60 bc@freeuk.com (bartc) (2018-04-14)
Re: language design after Algol 60 anw@cuboid.co.uk (Andy Walker) (2018-04-15)
RE: language design after Algol 60 costello@mitre.org (Costello, Roger L.) (2018-04-16)
Re: language design after Algol 60 robin51@dodo.com.au (Robin Vowels) (2018-04-17)
Re: Language design after Algol 60 robin51@dodo.com.au (Robin Vowels) (2018-04-18)
[2 later articles]
| List of all articles for this month |

From: "Robin Vowels" <robin51@dodo.com.au>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:11:32 +1000
Organization: Compilers Central
References: <49854345-f940-e82a-5c35-35078c4189d5@gkc.org.uk> 18-03-103 18-03-042 18-03-047 18-03-075 18-03-079 18-03-101 18-04-002 18-04-003 18-04-004 18-04-024 18-04-034 18-04-041 18-04-046 18-04-050 18-04-063
Keywords: PL/I, history, comment

From: "Martin Ward" <martin@gkc.org.uk>
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2018 11:10 PM




> The IBM Language Reference for Enterprise PL/I for z/OS is 862 pages.


The IBM PL/I for OS/2 Language Reference is 491 pages plus 121 pages
for the built-in functions, published 1994.
This reference includes a number of new language features.


The language references also include a number of example programs.


> E.W.Dijkstra wrote in his ACM Turing Lecture 1972:
>
> "Finally, although the subject is not a pleasant one, I must
> mention PL/1, a programming language for which the defining
> documentation is of a frightening size and complexity.
> Using PL/1 must be like flying a plane with 7000 buttons,
> switches and handles to manipulate in the cockpit.


Dijkstra's comment is nonsense.
It seems that he couldn't even spell the name of the language.
[assuming that the quotation is literally correct]


> I absolutely fail to see how we can keep our growing programs
> firmly within our intellectual grip when by its sheer baroqueness
> the programming language -- our basic tool, mind you! -- already
> escapes our intellectual control."


Others seem to have mastered it, but not Dijkstra, apparently.
[Considering how quickly it was designed, PL/I is not a bad language,
but it definitely has parts that fit together poorly. I once tried
to write a program that used arrays of 12-bit strings and the code
PL/I F generated was very special, not in a good way. Per one of my
previous comments, few programmers learn all of PL/I, most learn a
subset adequate for the kind of programming they do. I doubt many
write programs that use both recursive routines with stacks of
controlled storage and decimal picture I/O. -John]


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