BRITISH COMPUTER SOCIETY - FORTRAN SPECIALIST GROUP
MINUTES of a Meeting held on Monday 2nd October 1978 at Imperial College
P A Clarke (Chairman) Rothamsted Experimental Station
G L Harding E C M W F
W S Hilder Computer Systems Portability
D Hill Central Computer agency
D J Holmes Rolls Royce Ltd., Bristol
J D Murchland University College London
T L van Raalte Ministry of Defence
A Wilson International Computers Ltd
J D Wilson University of Leicester
J M Roberts-Jones (Secretary) Liverpool City Council
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
D T Muxworthy Edinburgh R C C
1 The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. [21 August 1978]
2 There was a discussion of the possible reasons for low attendance
at meetings. One suggestion was that more publicity was needed.
The Chairman reported that he had recently had fruitful
discussions with Malcolm Peltu, the Editor of Computer Weekly,
who was sympathetic to the cause of standards activities and was
likely to assist us whenever possible. It was questioned whether
most programmers were aware of Fortran 77; many possibly knew
only of the facilities provides by their current compilers. Some
doubts were expressed as to whether greater awareness of standards
would necessarily be beneficial.
3 It was reported that copies of the new standard could be ordered
from the British Standards Institute, Overseas Sales Branch,
101 Pentonville Road, London N1 9ND, at £17.80 per copy including
postage. Payment is required with the order. The title should
be quoted in full, as "American National Standard X3.9-1978
Programming Language Fortran". It was hoped to negotiate a
discount for a bulk purchase by the Group.
4 It was noted with some regret that the first Fortran compilers to
appear all included various extensions. It was felt that there
was an urgent need for a Fortran 77 verifier analogous to PFORT.
5 It was noted that it was proposed to form a Technical Committee
on Fortran under ACM Sigplan, the Chairman to be Jerry Wagener.
6 The Chairman led a discussion on recent changes to
Codasyl database specifications, with particular reference to the
question of defaults for omitted keyword parameters in the
Fortran DML. It was suggested that there seemed to be a danger
of the FDBLC introducing too many new conventions too soon.
7 The proposals to be submitted to the ISO meeting by BSI/DPS13/WG6
generated much debate as to the proper aims of the next revision.
In particular, two distinct schools of thought emerged on the
respective merits of the probably incompatible objectives of a
language "that does what users really want" and of a language
tuned for maximum portability. It was suggested that a lack of
upward compatibility would be acceptable if and only if portable
Fortran 77 programs were made available for source conversion.
8 The Steering Committee discussed plans for a meeting in December,
at which it is hoped that several members of X3J3 and maybe some
representatives from other countries will speak on Fortran 77 and
Fortran 82. A charge will be made for attendance, catering will
be arranged, and a copy of the new standard will be supplied to
[A Fortran Forum was held in London on 1 December 1978, following the
initial ISO Fortran Experts' Group meeting. The next Fortran Specialist
Group meeting was held on 5 February 1979.]
FORTRAN DBLC - MINUTES OF AUGUST 1978 MEETING.
It was noted that eight features, absent from Fortran 77, would
be of significant assistance in developing a Fortran database interface
* Data structures
* Error handling
* Intrinsic subroutines
* An INVOKE statement
* I/O list parameters
* Keyword parameters
* Longer names
* Varying arrays
In anticipation of the formation of an X3J3 Technical Subcommittee
comprising three X3J3 members (Greenfield, Signor, Upshaw) and two FDBLC
members (Drake (chair), Greenwood), it was decided to hold future meetings
at the same location as X3J3, with a four-day overlap.
A List was compiled, of problems required to be resolved before
publication of version 2.0 of the Journal of Development. Many of the
items are caused by the major revisions earlier in 1978 to the
specifications of the Schema and of the Cobol Interface. Investigation
was needed into the consequences of various changes to the Cobol DML
* Realms need not be disjoint
* The verbs ERASE, CONNECT and DISCONNECT had been redefined
* The effect of the MODIFY and READY verbs on currency indicators
had been changed
* There might be inconsistencies as between the Cobol and Fortran
specifications of record selection expressions
* Revised rules for updating currency indicators (with a feeling
that the new Cobol rules, while being an improvement, are
still too complex and require further changes)
* Revised record locking specifications and introduction of
commitment units (COMMIT, ROLLBACK, KEEP and FREE verbs)
It would also be necessary to investigate the inconsistencies as
between the Cobol and Fortran rules for updating special registers, to
remove references to record storage location modes and CALC keys to
reflect the removal of specification of physical attributes from the
Schema DDL; to recast the ACCEPT functionality as a Fortran function,
and to investigate possible changes in two areas where the present
specification is obviously inconsistent with "the flavour of Fortran",
i.e. special registers and CALL BEFORE/AFTER phrases.
CODASYL DATABASE FACILITY.
The current published Codasyl specifications comprise one
document defining the Schema DBL, and two defining the Cobol and
Fortran interfaces respectively.
"Codasyl Data Description Language Committee Journal of
Development 1978". Available from
Materiel Data Management Branch,
Department of Supply and Services,
4th Floor, Core B1,
Place du Portage, Phase III,
11 Laurier Street,
Specify title exactly as quoted; remittance of $6.59 in U S or Canadian
currency with order.
This document replaces the 1973 JOD, and specifies the Schema DDL.
Major changes include:
* Database keys are redefined as unique record references only
within a single rununit
* The DDL is restricted to describing the logical structure of a
database: facilities for describing the physical realisation
have been deleted (SEARCH KEY, LOCATION MODE, ACTUAL/VIRTUAL,
PRIOR PROCESSABLE, LINKED TO OWNER, index declaration)
* Recursive sets are now allowed
* A new RECORD KEY clause allows declaration of identifiers as
record order keys independently of set relationships
* Value-based set relationships may be defined by STRUCTURAL
* ENCODE/DECODE, dynamic sets, temporary areas are deleted
* A record may be specified as WITHIN ANY AREA
An appendix contains a draft specification of a Data Storage
Description Language; with facilities for describing a Storage Schema
defining the physical representation of entities in a schema.
The Cobol interface is integrated into the Codasyl Cobol JOD 1978,
available to BCS members at £7 (cash with order) from BCS HQ.
The Fortran interface is described in "Codasyl Fortran Data Base
Facility 110-GP-2 January 1977", available from Materiel Data Management
Centre, Department of Supply and Services, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Specify title exactly as quoted; remittance of $4.00 in US or Canadian
currency with order.