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Google Doodle Remembers Computing Pioneer Grace Hopper 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the original-programmer dept.
SternisheFan writes "Monday's Google Doodle honors computing genius Grace Hopper (remembered as a great pioneer in computing, as well as in women's achievements in science and engineering), on what would have been her 107th birthday, doodling her right where she spent much of her time – at the helm of one of the world's first computers."
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Google Doodle Remembers Computing Pioneer Grace Hopper

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  • Re:COBOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:58PM (#45641905)

    I knew somebody would bring that up. In defense of COBOL, 1. Look when it was invented. 2. Look how much staying power it has. 3. Look at the train wrecks caused by later efforts to make easier, more readable programming languages.

    COBOL looks pretty good when you consider all that.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:59PM (#45641917) Journal

    Anybody on Slashdot who doesn't know who she is ... get the fuck out, because you're on the wrong website.

    You might try wrapping your head around this: obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com].

  • Re:COBOL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dthanna (1294016) on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:01PM (#45641933)

    At the time you had... Fortran... and Assembler. COBOL was a godsend to the business community. Because of it companies actually invested in computer equipment to do things... that investment reduced the cost and increased its capabilities. Eventually allowing the creation of that smart phone in your pocket. If it wasn't for COBOL it is doubtful that companies would have made the investments.

    Having programed in both COBOL and Fortran... I'll take COBOL for anything business related.

    Yes, it's verbose. But, it was a product of it's time. And quite the amazing language if you know what you are doing with it.

  • Re:COBOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:14PM (#45642049)

    I think we can blame all the faults of COBOL on the fact that she wanted it to be human readable by business managers. What would your programming language look like if the Pointy-Haired Boss had to be able to understand it?

    Thank you for that.

    You see, Ms. Hopper, being ahead of her time in MANY respects, knew that programming should be easily done in a human readable fashion.

    Programming computers should be easy. Having difficult to learn languages defeats the purpose of these machines. Being able to program these things should be easy to everyone and the fact that it STILL isn't shows the ineptitude of the computer science world - or arrogance (dude, computers SHOULD be hard to program because it's for smart people or some such nonsense).

    Computers are a tool, The fact that computer languages haven't evolved much since the 1960s is pretty sad.

    ..

    Please oh please post a flame that languages have evolved so that I can spank you hardily - 50 years and we're still typing esoteric computer code?! Seriously?

    If you think that is the way it is, then YOU have NO imagination.

  • Re:COBOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:15PM (#45642063) Homepage Journal

    At the time you had... Fortran... and Assembler. COBOL was a godsend to the business community. Because of it companies actually invested in computer equipment to do things... that investment reduced the cost and increased its capabilities. Eventually allowing the creation of that smart phone in your pocket. If it wasn't for COBOL it is doubtful that companies would have made the investments.

    Having programed in both COBOL and Fortran... I'll take COBOL for anything business related.

    Yes, it's verbose. But, it was a product of it's time. And quite the amazing language if you know what you are doing with it.

    Anyone who has actually been suffered to write business applications in FORTRAN IV* would rather be disemboweled by a pack of rabid were-weasels than have to do that again and COBOL would appear to be a gift from Heaven.

    I began my education with, what I considered being taught a load of dead or dying languages, while Object Oriented languages were just on the horizon and Pascal and c were gaining degrees of acceptance. c is still around, but I haven't heard from Pascal in ages - it was fiddly, like Modula2 and seemed to embrace the wordiness of COBOL over the conciseness of c. I've converted systems written in COBOL and at least they were readable - what the coder was doing. FORTRAN business apps are nearly unintelligible.

    * note: use of all caps

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:21PM (#45642137)

    Anybody on Slashdot who doesn't know who she is ... get the fuck out, because you're on the wrong website.

    No shame in being a newbie as long as one is *trying* to be a self teacher and tries to not be a newbie forever. In this case, the shame is on the one trying to run newbies off.. You are going to die a lonely death.

  • Re:COBOL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:23PM (#45642157)
    Agreed, I'm a non techie, and todays computers are less fun and useful than in the win95 era, when I could actually do things with them. Heck, the C64 held far more interest for the average person, you could at least easily learn how to program in basic.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday December 09, 2013 @06:35PM (#45644547) Homepage Journal

    You may scoff at COBOL, but she pioneered the idea of using a more human-friendly notation instead of machine language and its cousin, assembler. Her experiments were the precursor to Algol, which shaped all the imperative block-oriented languages we use today, including C, Java, VB, Pascal, etc.

    And it made software more vendor-independent as the languages were not tied to a specific machine architecture, unlike machine code and assembler.

    Before that, many scoffed at the idea of "dumbing down" programming with English-like syntax, fearing it would waste resources and invite poorly educated riff-raff into the field. (Well, maybe it did :-)

    Perhaps Grace didn't get it quite right on the first try, but she helped spark a computer language revolution that led to better tools down the road. She tested waters others feared.

The first version always gets thrown away.

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