Re: What programming languages are simply abstractions on top of another programming language?

gah4 <>
Mon, 20 Jun 2022 15:36:22 -0700 (PDT)

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From: gah4 <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2022 15:36:22 -0700 (PDT)
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 22-06-047
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Keywords: design, history
Posted-Date: 21 Jun 2022 12:22:41 EDT
In-Reply-To: 22-06-047

On Monday, June 20, 2022 at 3:06:46 PM UTC-7, Roger L Costello wrote:

> That got me to wondering, "What other programming languages are simply
> abstractions on top of an existing programming language?"

About the same time as Ratfor, there was MORTRAN, more
specifically MORTRAN2.

The MORTRAN2 processor is written in ANSI standard Fortran 66,
with the exception of the need to assign and compare character data.
(Yes, Fortran 66 doesn't guarantee that ability.)

The processor works along with a set of macros that implement structured
programming similar to ratfor.

Not so long after MORTRAN2, and from the same group, is STEP which I
recently posted about. The STEP processor can fully parse its input, mostly
so that error messages are generated correctly.

As well as I know, STEP is also ANSI standard Fortran 66 with the same

As more structured programming was added to Fortran, there was less
need to try to improve it with such processors.

The original C++ was a processor, cfront, that would generate C code, that
was then compiled by a C compiler. I believe not so much later, though,
an actual C++ compiler was available. I don't know if cfront is still around.

The TeX text processor has many built-in operations, but much of plain TeX
is implemented in a standard set of macros. Then LaTeX was implemented
with a different, and larger, set of macros. I believe it satisfies you question.

Then there is WEB, the literate programming system D. Knuth used to write
TeX, which mixes the code (in Pascal) and documentation (in TeX) in
one file. One then processes it with Tangle (to get the code), or Weave
(to get documented and supposed to be more readable source code).

I suspect that there were many programs written for a single use, and
not generally released.

And then there are parser generators, a favorite topic of this group,
which read input that describes the grammar to parse, and generates
C or Java, or some other language, code to actually do it.

I will leave out assemblers, including macro assemblers, and programs
to preprocess assembly code, though they might also satisfy the question.

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