Free seminar on domain-specific modeling

Steve Holden steve at
Wed Sep 21 12:44:04 CEST 2005

Martijn Iseger wrote:
> Hello Steve,
>>1. Any organisation that can talk about "a leap in productivity of
>>400% from Assembler to BASIC" as though nothing occurred in between
>>suffers such a total disconnect from computing history that it's hard
>>to take other utterances seriously.
> I believe the point being made by the organization is that during computing 
> history the most successful shifts in productivity were achieved by similar 
> shifts in raising the abstraction level on which developers specify solutions. 
> According to Capers Jones Software Productivity research Fortran is 4.5 times 
> more productive than Assembler. Looking at chronology I'd say it is not incorrect 
> to refer to the advent of compilers as a leap.
Neither would I. I was simply pointing out that BASIC wasn't the next 
thing after assembly language. Even before Fortran there were a whole 
bunch of what were usually called "autocodes", one of the more popular 
ones in Britain at least being EMA (extended Mercury autocode. So it 
wasn't really a leap, more a sequence of steps.

I could promote nuclear weapons as being a quantum leap above 
rock-throwing (millions of percent more kill efficiency), but I'd be 
falsifying the picture by omitting depressing centuries of weapons 
development in doing so.

Most BASICs weren't compiled languages anyway: BASIC's primary feature 
was the introduction of interactive execution modes and immediate 
edit/run cycling. The addition of compilation to machine code is a 
relatively recent phenomenon for (only some) BASICs, unlike other 
high-level languages.

Steve Holden       +44 150 684 7255  +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC           
PyCon TX 2006                

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