Assignment Versus Equality

Alain Ketterlin alain at universite-de-strasbourg.fr.invalid
Mon Jun 27 10:48:52 EDT 2016


Grant Edwards <grant.b.edwards at gmail.com> writes:

> On 2016-06-26, BartC <bc at freeuk.com> wrote:
>
>> (Note, for those who don't know (old) Fortran, that spaces and tabs are 
>> not significant. So those dots are needed, otherwise "a eq b" would be 
>> parsed as "aeqb".)
>
> I've always been baffled by that.
> Were there other languages that did something similar?

Probably a lot at that time.

> Why would a language designer think it a good idea?

Because when you punch characters one by one on a card, you quickly get
bored with less-than-useful spaces.

> Did the poor sod who wrote the compiler think it was a good idea?

I don't know, but he has a good excuse: he was one of the first to ever
write a compiler (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compiler, the
section on History).

You just called John Backus a "poor sod". Think again.

-- Alain.


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