<bbense+comp.lang.ruby.Dec.20.01 / telemark.stanford.edu> ; wrote in message news:<9vt23r$rsj$1 / usenet.Stanford.EDU>...
[...]
> >Lucky you!  Until a few years ago I had long had to program in Fortran
> >77, which was a horrible experience. [...]
[...]
> >Sorry if some Fortran 77 fans out there are offended.  But, I bet the
> >intersection between F77 fans and Ruby fans is almost an empty set, so
> >no one from the former group is listening to me....
> >
> 
> - - I did a lot of my best work in fortran77, even worked on a code
>   preprocesser to turn fortan66 into fortran77. 3 monthes work
>   for something that would take a few days in Ruby. For number
>   crunching on big Iron it's hard to beat Fortran, mostly because
>   of the available tweaked linear algebra libraries. 
> 
> - - Pick the right tool for the job, Languages are just tools. Even
>   though it's fun to play with your table saw, it's hard to drive
>   a screw with it. 

I perfectly agree to these things you said.  In particular, that
Fortran is very hard to beat in number crunching (which is precisely
the reason why I was using Fortran 77) and that we should pick the
right tool for the job.  But, I'm afraid that wasn't the issue.  What
you didn't say is: Is (was) Fortran 77 fun?   I was using F77 because
it was *the* right tool, but the fact remains that it was pretty
irritating to me.  Since this isn't a Fortran mailing list/news group,
I won't detail how I think Fortran *could* be better without damaging
its main virtue (efficiency).  Just one example:

	character*256  prefix
 	read(*,*) prefix
	! Find (for yourself) the last non-whitespace character.
	! Suppose we find it at index "last".
	! (But, what if the user input was longer than 256?)
	filename = prefix(last:last)//".dat"

I don't think this is fun at all.  Why doesn't Fortran have
variable-length strings(*footnote)?  (The Fortran 90 supplementary
standard defines one, but vendors tend not to implement it.)  And even
in number crunching programs, you often need to manipulate strings
(filenames, error messages, etc.).

Anyway, Fortran 90 isn't that bad and it brings back to me peace of
mind (not fun, unfortunately).

Cheers,
Ryo
==================
(*)  Yes, variable-length strings are far slower than fixed-length
ones, but if performance matters, you will simply use fixed-length
ones, and 95% of the time performance of strings doesn't matter in
number crunching programs.