[OT] Why is it called string?

Brian Kelley bkelley at wi.mit.edu
Thu Aug 21 16:28:37 CEST 2003

Richard Brodie wrote:

> "Brian Kelley" <bkelley at wi.mit.edu> wrote in message
> news:3f44ce77$0$556$b45e6eb0 at senator-bedfellow.mit.edu...
>>That being said, what is the programming-centric etymology of "string"?
> The usage of string as "a sequence of similar objects", appears to be very
> old. Dropping the 'character' part is probably much more recent (probably
> around the classic Unix/C era: old Pascal documentation tends to say
> "character string" explicitly.

Isn't this relatively unique to characters though?  I haven't seen 
"integer string" and some old borland documentation (old memory here) 
that had some code to convert from a String of Integers into an Array of 
Byte.   This usage of string specifically meant the ASCII equivalent of 
an integer such as:

a = "1234567890"

More often I have seen "Array of Integers" or "List of Integers" so the 
term "string" does appear to mean "human readable" or imply character 
based... i.e. EBDIC/ASCII or the appropriate encoding.

Brian Kelley                                  bkelley at wi.mit.edu
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research   617 258-6191

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