Programming Languages: A Grand Tour by P. Wegner (auth.), Ellis Horowitz (eds.)

By P. Wegner (auth.), Ellis Horowitz (eds.)

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Additional info for Programming Languages: A Grand Tour

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As the general task of an engineer is the improveIIlInt of hi s technical gadgets, I perceived that computers were an ideal ground for *Reprinted from Proc. IFIP Congress 74, 3136-393, NorthHolland, Amsterdam, North-Holland Publishing Company. The author is with the Institut fiir Inf(lrmatik, Eidg. Technische Hochschule, Zurich, Switzerland. engineering activitiea. and felt that there wes ellple room for further improvement. This essessllent turned out to be correct up to the present day. But how was progress to be achieved?

In the early days of high-level languages, it was openly stated that speed of compilation was of minor importance, because programs would be compiled only once and then executed many times. After a while it was realized that the reverse was often true, that a program would be compiled frequently while it was being debugged. But instead of constructing a fast translator, language designers turned to independent compilation, which permits a programmer to avoid recompiling parts of his program which he has not changed since the last time.

In itself. introducing another restriction unknown at the level of machine code. where every cell can be loaded with a copy of every other cell's content. The idea of simplicity through generality again led to the elimination of restrictive type rules. and of the data type in general. It was adopted by a family of languages designed to fill the apparent gap between high-level languages and assembly code. which are now known as machine oriented higher order languages (Mohols). They permit the construction of expressions with "untyped" operands and the application of both arithmetic and logical operations on the same vsriables.

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Programming Languages: A Grand Tour by P. Wegner (auth.), Ellis Horowitz (eds.)
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