AOH :: LAIDBACK.TXT|
Some screwy languages
Basic, Fortran, Cobol... These programming languages are well
known and (more or less) well loved throughout the computer
industry. There are numerous other languages, however, that are
less well known yet still have ardent devotees. For those who
wish to know more about these obscure languages - and why they
are obscure - I present the following catalogue.
SIMPLE is an acronym for Sheer Idiot's Mono-purpose
Programming Linguistic Environment. This language, developed at
the Hanover College for Technological Misfits, was designed to
make it impossible to write code with errors in it. The statements
are, therefore confined to BEGIN, END and STOP. No matter
how you arrange the statements, you can't make a syntax error.
Programs written in SIMPLE do nothing useful. Thus they achieve
the results of programs written in other languages without the
tedious process of testing and debugging.
SLOBOL is best known for the speed, or lack of it, of its
compiler. Although many compilers allow you to take a coffee
break while they compile, SLOBOL compilers allow you to take a
trip to Bolivia to pick up the coffee. Forty-three programmers
are known to have died of boredom sitting at their terminals
while waiting for a SLOBOL program to compile.
(With special thanks to Dan and Betsy "Moon Unit" Pfau) -
From its modest beginnings in southern California's San Fernando
valley, VALGOL is enjoying a dramatic surge of popularity across
VALGOL commands include REALLY, LIKE, WELL and YKNOW. Variables
are assigned with the =LIKE and =TOTALLY operators. Other
operators include the "California Booleans", FERSURE and NOWAY.
Repetitions of code are handled in FOR-SURE loops. Here is a
sample VALGOL PROGRAM:
14 LIKE, Y\$KNOW (I MEAN) START
PI A =LIKE BITCHEN AND
01 B =LIKE TUBULAR AND
9C =LIKE GRODY^MAX
4I FOR I=LIKE 1 TO OH MAYBE 100
86 DO WAH + (DITTY*2)
9 BARF(I)=TOTALLY GROSS(OUT)
1F LIKE BAG THIS PROGRAM
LIKE TOTALLY (YKNOW)
VALGOL is characterized by its unfriendly error messages. For
example, when the user makes a syntax error, the interpreter
displays the message, GAG ME WITH A SPOON.
Historically, VALGOL is a derivative of LAIDBACK, which
was developed at the (now defunct) Marin County Center for T'ai
Chi Mellowness, and Computer Programming, as an alternative to
the more intense atmosphere in nearby Silicon Valley. The center
was ideal for programmers who liked to soak in hot tubs while
they worked. Unfortunately, few programmers could survive there
for long, since the center outlawed pizza and RC Cola in favor of
bean curd and Perrier.
Many mourn the demise of LAIDBACK because of its reputation as a
gentle and nonthreatening language. For example, LAIDBACK
responded to syntax errors with the message, SORRY MAN, I CAN'T
DEAL WITH THAT.
Named after the late existential philosopher, SARTRE is an
extremely unstructured language. Statements in SARTRE have no purpose;
they just are. Thus SARTRE programs are left to define their own
functions. SARTRE programmers tend to be boring and depressed and are
no fun at parties. The SARTRE language has two basic data types, the
EN-SOI and the POUR-SOI. The EN-SOI is a completely filled heap,
whereas the POUR-SOI is a dynamic structure which never has the same
value. The structures are accessed through the only operation
defined in SARTRE, NIHILATION, which usually results in a
?BAD FAITH at PC 02AC040 error. Comparisons in SARTRE have a peculiar
form in that the IF statement can take no arguments and simply reads
Similarly, assignments can only be of the form
WHAT-IS := (NOT WHAT-IS);
since in SARTRE the POUR-SOI is only, and exactly, what it is not.
Although this sounds confusing, a background process, the NIHILATOR, is
constantly running, making any such statements (or any statements at
all, for that matter), completely meaningless.
Programs in SARTRE do not terminate, of course,
since there is No Exit.
FIFTH is a precision mathematical language in which the
data types refer to quantity. The data types range from CC, OUNCE
SHOT and JIGGER to FIFTH (hence the name of the language), LITRE,
MAGNUM and BLOTTO}. Commands refer to ingredients such as CHABLIS,
CHARDONNAY, CABERNET, GIN, VERMOUTH, VODKA, SCOTCH and WHATEVERSAROUND.
The many versions of the FIFTH language reflect the sophistication
and financial status of its users. Commands in the ELITE
dialect include VSOP and LAFITE, while commands in the GUTTER
dialect include HOOTCH and RIPPLE.
This language was named for the grade received by its creator
when he submitted it as a class project in a graduate programming
class. C- is best described as a "low-level" programming language.
In fact, the language generally requires more C- statements
than machine code statements to execute a given task. In
this respect it is very similar to COBOL.
This otherwise unremarkable language is distinguished by
the absence of an "S" in its character set, programmers and users
must substitute "TH". LITHP is said to be useful in prothething
Developed at the Massachuesettes Institute of Obedience
Training, DOGO hearlds a new era of computer-literate pets. DOGO
commands include SIT, HEEL and ROLL OVER. An innovative feature
of DOGO is "puppy graphics", in which a small cocker spaniel
occasionally leaves a deposit as he travels across the screen.
By John Unger Zussman
From Info World, Oct 4, 1982
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