Monday, September 25, 2006

print *,"Happy Birthday Fortran!"

Fifty years ago the first high level programming language, Fortran had its first manual issued in October 1956 (it was April 1957 before an actual compiler appeared). EoR first learnt to program in Fortran many years ago (specifically, a dialect called Miniwaft). Programming in those days involved coding punched cards using an unbent paperclip, sending them off to the West Australian Regional Computing Centre at the University of WA, hoping the card reader didn't chew the cards up, and waiting a week for the printout to come back with its list of compiler errors which prevented the program running.

Later computer users had it easy, what with cradle modems, teletypes and Basic's GOSUB statement. Then, of course, people started producing compilers that wouldn't even fit on a single 5¼" floppy disk.

And you try and tell the young people of today that... they won't believe you.

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