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2017-04-27 16:10 GMT+02:00 steve donovan <>:

> Now, I personally started off with Fortran
> (very vaguely typed in those days), but the following year had a most
> excellent course in Pascal with Judy Bishop for which I'm always
> grateful.

You dropped a name that I recognize, of a person that I knew in those
days. I was always a little sore at her for not letting me join the SA
Computer Science Lecturers' Association because I was not actually
teaching formal courses in computer science. I was merely doing
a lot of in-house retraining of students produced by SACSLA members
so that they could program in Fortran :-)

I, too, started off with Fortran but had to do a lot of work in PL/I,
which must be on the shortlist for ugliest programming language
ever invented. [1] Then I discovered Algol-W, which was Wirth's previous
attempt at designing a language to his own taste, and loved it. The
step from Algol-W to Pascal was no larger than later steps (which
I never actually took) to Modula and then to Oberon would have

But Pascal would have been on the rubbish heap if it were not for
Borland. Turbo Pascal is an even better first language than the
original Pascal in the sense that it is almost as teach-it-yourself
as BASIC. My 8-year old twins acquired it by watching me.

One of the things about Lua that grabbed me was that Lua code
looked very much like Pascal code, with an even smaller set of
keywords. I still think there must be some subset of Lua that one
could use as a teaching language. Implementing it would be
easy. Only lua.c would require changes: pass code through
a verifier rather like PFORT (remember that?)

[1] Its spiritual heirs include Ada and Java.