Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

obsolete computer languages

Follow-up to my post re: yesterday's book sale.

When I got to the table of computer books, one of the alumni volunteers (who apparently is a computer guy) was telling a younger guy to clear out the PASCAL books, as they just weren't moving (this was three days into a five-day sale). I asked the computer guy whatever happened to PASCAL, FORTRAN, COBOL -- languages I remember hearing about when I was in college (I had Comp. Sci. friends). Plus one I'd never heard of (should've written it down!): AIKEL (or some-such). Now-a-days it's all C+ and VisualBasic and such.

He said -- and I'll probably get these confused -- PASCAL was basically just to teach people a programming mindset, and not actually used for real applications -- although some people in France still use it. Some scientists still use FORTAN. And COBOL didn't allow conditional statements (i.e. "IF... THEN..."), which made it of limited use.

Anyhow, I felt bad for all those obsolete "how to program" books that no one wanted.

But, not bad enough to buy any.



At April 27, 2005 7:23 AM, Blogger K. said...

PASCAL and COBOL are a lot like Latin...dead languages. But FORTRAN is still alive and kicking, at least in the US engineering community. There's just so much heritage FORTRAN code that replacing it all with C/C++ would be a massive undertaking.

Software weenies tend to look down on FORTRAN because its not fashionable and "object oriented" like C++, but old-school engineers like it 'cause its straightforward and gets the job done.

The French notwithstanding, I can't imagine anyone wanting an old PASCAL book. How sad. Perhaps they belong on the Island of Misfit Toys.


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