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Author Raphael, Bertram
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract The following are identified as major components of every programming language: (1) the elementary program statement, (2) mechanisms for linking elementary statements together, (3) the means by which a program can obtain data inputs. Several alternative forms of each of these components are described, compared and evaluated. Many examples, frequently from list processing languages, illustrate the forms described.Elementary program statements usually take the form of commands, requirements, or implicit specifications. A command is an imperative statement that commands the action to be taken. A requirement describes the effect to be achieved without saying anything about the actions to be taken. An implicit specification is similar to a requirement, but the programmer must understand what actions will be taken to achieve the desired effect.Subroutines may be entered explicitly, by execute call, or by function composition. Explicitly called subroutines generally require special linkage conventions. An execute subroutine call is syntactically indistinguishable from a basic instruction of the programming language. Function composition is a convenient alternative to the explicit call.The three principal ways of getting inputs for routines are (1) by referring to the data itself, (2) by referring to the data by a “name”, and (3) by referring to it implicitly by means of variables or functions. Names are useful entry points into permanent data structures, but can be error-causing distractions in other contexts.The author discusses advantages, disadvantages, and factors influencing the choice of a form of component for a language. He concludes by suggesting the evolution of programming languages toward one which will permit all
Description Affiliation: Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA (Raphael, Bertram)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 9
Issue Number 3
Page Count 2
Starting Page 155
Ending Page 156


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Source: ACM Digital Library