[TUHS] Book Recommendation

Mary Ann Horton mah at mhorton.net
Tue Nov 23 12:28:29 AEST 2021

PL/I was my favorite mainframe programming language my last two years as 
an undergrad. I liked how it incorporated ideas from FORTRAN, ALGOL, and 
COBOL. My student job was to enhance a PL/I package for a History professor.

As a grad student in 1976, my first job as a TA was to teach PL/I to 
undergrads. There were a lot of business students in the class. We 
thought PL/I was likely to be the future of business programming, as a 
better alternative to COBOL.

I was turned on to V6 UNIX and C in 1977, and I forgot all about PL/I.

     Mary Ann

On 11/16/2021 6:57 AM, Douglas McIlroy wrote:
> The following remark stirred old memories. Apologies for straying off
> the path of TUHS.
>> I have gotten the impression that [PL/I] was a language that was beloved by no one.
> As I was a designer of PL/I, an implementer of EPL (the preliminary
> PL/I compiler used to build Multics), and author of the first PL/I
> program to appear in the ACM Collected Algorithms, it's a bit hard to
> admit that PL/I was "insignificant". I'm proud, though, of having
> conceived the SIGNAL statement, which pioneered exception handling,
> and the USES and SETS attributes, which unfortunately sank into
> oblivion. I also spurred Bud Lawson to invent -> for pointer-chasing.
> The former notation C(B(A)) became A->B->C. This was PL/I's gift to C.
> After the ACM program I never wrote another line of PL/I.
> Gratification finally came forty years on when I met a retired
> programmer who, unaware of my PL/I connection, volunteered that she
> had loved PL/I above all other programming languages.
> Doug

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