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Little Known Computer 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 that still have ardent devotees. In fact, these little-known languages generally have the most fanatic admirers. For those who wish to know more about these obscure languages and why they are obscure we present the following catalog.

SIMPLE

SIMPLE is an acronym for Sheer Idiot's Monopurpose Programming Linguistic Environment. This language, developed at the Hanover College for Technical 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, frustrating process of testing and debugging.

SLOBOL

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.

VALGOL

From its modest beginnings in southern California's San Fernando Valley, VALGOL is enjoying a dramatic surge of popularity across the industry. VALGOL commands include REALLY, LIKE, WELL, and Y$KNOW. Variables are assigned with the =LIKE and =TOTALLY operators. Other operators include the "CALIFORNIA BOOLEANS" -- FERSURE and NOWAY. Repetitions of code are handle in FOR-SURE loops. Here is a sample VALGOL program:

14 LIKE, Y$KNOW (I MEAN) START

%% IF

PI A =LIKE BITCHEN AND

01 B =LIKE TUBULAR AND

9C =LIKE GRODY^MAX

4K (FERSURE)^2

18 THEN

4I FOR I= LIKE 1 TO OH MAYBE 100

86 DO WAH + (DITTY^2)

9 BARF(I) =TOTALLY GROSS(OUT)

-17 SURE

1F LIKE BAG THIS PROGRAM

? REALLY

$$ LIKE TOTALLY (Y$KNOW)

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.

LAIDBACK

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.

SARTRE

Named after the late existenitial philosopher. SARTRE is an extremely unstructured language. Statements in SARTRE have no purpose; they just are there. Thus SARTRE programs are left to define their own functions. SARTRE programmers tend to be boring and depressed and are no fun at parties.

FIFTH

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), LITER, MAGNUM, and BLOTTO. Commands refer to ingredients such as CHABLIS, CHARDONNAY, CABERBET, 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 LAFITTE, while commands in the GUTTER dialect include HOOTCH and RIPPLE. The latter is a favorite of frustrated FORTH programmers who end up using the language.

C-

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.

LITHP

This otherwise unremarkable language is distinguished by the absence of an "s" in its character set. Programmers and users must substitute "TH" for "S". LITHP ith thaid to be utheful in proceththing lithtth.

DOGO

Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Obedience Training, DOGO heralds a new era of computer-literates. DOGO commands include SIT, STAY, 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.

C+-

Pronounced "C more or less", unlike C++, C+- is a subject oriented language. Each C+- class instance, known as a subject, holds hidden members, known as prejudices or undeclared preferences, which are impervious preferences, which are impervious to outside messages, as well as public members known as boasts or claims. The following C operators are overridden as shown:

> better than

< worse than

>> much better than

<< forget it

! not on your life

== comparable, other things being equal.

C+- is a strongly typed language based on stereotyping and self-righteous logic. The Boolean variables TRUE and FALSE (known as constants in less realistic languages) are supplemented with CREDIBLE and DUBIOUS, which are fuzzier than Zadeh's traditional fuzzy categories. All Booleans can be declared with the modifiers strong and weak. Weak implication is said to "preserve deniability" and was added at the request of the D.O.D. to ensure compatability with future versions of Ada. Well-formed falsehoods (WFFs) are assignment-compatible with all Booleans. What-if and why-not interactions are aided by the special conditional evenifnot X then Y.
C+- supports information hiding and, among friend classes only, rumor sharing. Borrowing from the Eiffel lexicon, non-friend classes can be killed by arranging contracts. Note that friendships are intransitive, volatile, and non-Abelian.

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