I/O in Algol (was I/O in Pascal)

Gordon V. Cormack gvcormack at watmum.UUCP
Sat Aug 2 21:42:21 AEST 1986

> ...  Unfortunately, I/O libraries are not something that can be
> tacked on later.  I/O affects the definition of the language.  This is
> one of the most serious problems with the languges in the Algol
> tradition.  There is a tendency to think I/O is a detail unfit for
> computer scientists, which can be left to the "standard prolog".

Algol 68 treats I/O at great length.  I think it is more in the
"algol tradition" than Pascal, which is best characterised as
the anti-algol.

Algol 68, unlike Pascal, is sufficiently extensible to do a reasonable
(if not great; but then C is hardly great) job of defining routines
like printf.  For example, the following routine gives something
like what is needed:


PROC printf = ( [] CHAR f, [] PRINTABLE ) VOID : BEGIN ... END

printf(" %d  hi there %f \n", (123, 0.123))

Over the past decade, we have seen endless discussions comparing
brain-damaged languages like Pascal and C, and the design of the
Ada, all without learning from the successes (and mistakes) of
Algol 68.
Gordon V. Cormack      CS Department, University of Waterloo
uucp:  { allegra, decvax, ... }!watmath!gvcormack
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