Category: Programming languages

Small Basic

Microsoft’s Small Basic, currently at version 0.4, looks interesting. As well as being a very small variant of Basic (14 keywords), it sounds like a nice easy way for the beginner-to-average (not to mention less than occasional) programmer to knock together some .Net applications. I might have a look myself and get back to you on it…

Free programming e-books

For reasons that best need remain unsaid (oh all right then – I’ve forgotten) I was looking for some books on C++ (OK OK, I’ve lost my copy of Stroustrup – happy?).

Anyway, while browsing I came across Bruce Eckel’s interesting set of eBooks. Thinking in C+, Thinking in Java… all nicely rendered (with syntax highlighting) in HTML. So far so good – readable, clear on the history of C++ and so far looking rather nice. And free as well… what’s not to like? (I’m giving thought to buying the dead tree editions…)

Orca » Parallelism made easy

Orca, the programming language almost synonymous with the operating system Amoeba (other than Python, which also started on Amoeba), is designed for use on distributed systems. This essentially means that several computers come together – similar to Seti@Home – to create a single, giant supercomputer.
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Fujitsu COBOL 3

Did you know that you can get Fujitsu Cobol version 3 for absolutely nothing?  (The latest versions are paid for, and the new one even targets .Net.)

COBOL was in demand for year 2000 compliance work; so much so there were rumours of recruitment agencies searching retirement homes, looking for retired COBOL programmers…

Anyway, if you’ve ever fancied trying the language considered the most verbose of all time (apparently there’s a disease called “COBOL fingers“, where you wear them down to stumps by typing long complicated mathematical statements in the form “ADD 1 TO SALES GIVING SALES” instead of, say “sales++”, or even “sales = sales + 1”) .

COBOL stands for “COmmon Business Oriented Language”, and the syntax was meant to be understandable by normal humans (that is, not programmers).  However I suspect that it was also a reaction to the terseness of operating systems such as Multics, GEORGE III and Unix, all of which go in for shortened commands such as “ls”, “rm” and “chmod”.

Since then we’ve seen the advance of GUIs, much better development tools (ever tried writing a makefile by hand?) and a plethora of different programming languages.

Still, if you don’t fancy COBOL, how about Intercal?  <evil grin>