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Author Topic: Happy Birthday, FORTRAN  (Read 2494 times)
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Grand Blanc, MI, USA
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FORTRAN is 56: http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/10/1015fortran-launch/

I wrote a lot of FORTRAN back in the day, and liked it I guess, but I sure can't say I've ever missed it.

The equivalent of global variables was accomplished with "common blocks" that could be named, e.g.
    COMMON /NAME/ VAR1, VAR2, ...

People would get cute and code things like
    COMMON /SENSE/
    COMMON /MARKET/

And my favorite
    COMMON /GHIA/

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Cape Town South Africa
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and at the begining you had to name the routine  MASTER  something,  I had MIND on my example, but another crude guy had BATES  !
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My first University CS class was FORTRAN.  Of course by that point I had already taught myself BASIC, Pascal, oddly a little bit of PILOT (didn't like, turtles suck anyway) and 6502 assembler.
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I, otoh, never really liked it (except, perhaps, in comparison to the hand-punched perforated-card machine code I started with on the Wang 360), and count myself fortunate that I wrote far more FORTRAN for my school coursework than in the 4 decades that followed.

It was a great accomplishment at the time,  but so was the Model T.  I wouldn't choose either of them to do anything serious today.

I actually found this article (linked from that one) more interesting. 
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I've written more FORTRAN than any other language. I'd rather write C or Macro-11, but it beat the crap out of COBOL.

http://www.gotterdammerung.org/humor/real-programmers.html
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Back when I was a kid (mid-1980s), I found this book on FORTRAN and graphics (published in the 1970s, IIRC). I loved the graphics, but I didn't have FORTRAN. I did have BASIC, though (specifically, Extended Color BASIC on my TRS-80 Color Computer). So - I set about converting some of those programs from FORTRAN to BASIC. Turned out to work fairly well; I didn't find FORTRAN to be that cryptic (at least what was published in that book). It started me down a path of learning how to translate code from one language to another; just another minor skill in my toolbag, I guess!
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Having started as one and ending as the other I must be a "Real Programmer Quiche Eater".

However, I have an aunt who is a professional chef so I was eating quiche before I had even heard the word "computer".  Which must make me a "Quiche Eating Real Programmer Quiche Eater".
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yay fortran, making things "easier" by calling them what they were not

honestly to me, its the excel macro of its day, and what little I managed to write in college was enough

Quote
but it beat the crap out of COBOL.

you can still get paid a considerable amount to write COBOL though hehe
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 12:27:14 am by Osgeld » Logged


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Code:
do 10 i = 1.10

 :-)

I think fortran is best remember as having a bunch of stuff that was a bad example that subsequent languages were careful to fix.

OTOH, fortran's formatted input/output was pretty handy.  I remember trying to add formatted output to Pascal...
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My fav FORTRANism was the "computed goto". Sort of a switch stmt in reverse. In fact, just thinking about it, I suppose it easy to do in C wth a switch statement and a bunch of goto stmts. I'll have to do it now.  (When was the last time you used goto in C? Sometimes you just gotta get out and live a bit! ;-)

I do believe (strongly) that a good programmer can write perfectly good code in just about any language, while a bad programmer can create a mess in just about any language. (Wait 'til you see what I can cook up with my computed gotos in C...)

I actually wrote a preprocessor that converted FORTRAN 77 to FORTRAN IV so we could run some newer programs on an older mainframe that didn't have a modern FORTRAN 77 compiler (well, FORTRAN 77 was modern then.)  That was quite fun, actually. I wrote the preprocessor in FORTRAN, of course.

Modern FORTRANs still have their uses -- numerically intensive applications in particular. LINPACK written in FORTRAN still beats the C versions, at least the last time I checked.

 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 10:01:51 pm by pico » Logged

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My fav FORTRANism was the "computed goto". Sort of a switch stmt in reverse. In fact, just thinking about it, I suppose it easy to do in C wth a switch statement and a bunch of goto stmts.

Even better is a C(++) compiler that will do it for you.  I know Microsoft's compiler will optimize switch-statements with closely grouped cases into a "computed goto".
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I learnt FORTRAN in school. We wrote our programs on coding sheets which were posted off, put onto punch cards, executed and the output was posted back.

The output was normally "syntax error".
It did make you scrutinise your code.

I admit to being a bit lazy now and letting compilers find errors for me.

The language was pressed into service for all sorts of applications even computer graphics.
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I admit to being a bit lazy now and letting compilers find errors for me.

Even worse than the compiler is the IDE, in particular IntelliSense®.  It practically writes code for you.
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