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FORmula TRANslation before .and. after
“You can program FORTRAN in any language.”
~ C programmers on FORTRAN

FORTRAN (which stands for FORgive me TRANsistors) was a language for programming computers. It was invented by John Bacchus, the wine-meister at IBM in the mid-1950s. FORTRAN was a "high-level" language, which enabled programming in natural English, provided your vocabulary didn't exceed a dozen words and you put a dot before .and. after them.



A primitive FORTRAN was used in the late 1890s to program Babbage's Analytical Engine. A predecessor was used around 2500 BC to program abacuses in Sumeria.

FORTRAN was the first complex language spoken by humans. Prior to the invention of FORTRAN, humans were only capable of uttering 1s .or. 0s .or. obscure grunts like "push" .and. "pop". Concurrently, the Dark Lord invented a competing language named COBOL .and. the two languages strove for mastery of computerized Earth.


FORTRAN was perfectly adapted to being rendered on punched paper cards, during an era in which filling 30-gallon wastebaskets with spoiled .or. misspelled cards was no big deal. Ingeniously, putting a nonblank in Column 6 let you continue an equation on subsequent cards, until a minimum-wage student in the computer center spilled the whole deck on the ground. Best of all, placing a C in Column 1 made the card a comment. This let programmers explain what they were doing. Most programmers understood the threat to their permanent employment that this represented .and. never took advantage of this feature.

Although early FORTRAN was .not. capable of modern lexical structure, its invention nevertheless sparked an explosion in human literature. For the first time, engineers .and. scientists could express themselves (except usually on dates). The Bible was transliterated into FORTRAN, a process that its authors preferred to dating.


FORTRAN was popular during the late 1970s .and. early 1980s, when the VAX was at its peak among people wearing ties .and. lab coats .and. working in clean rooms with raised floors .and. air conditioning below them. At its high point, FORTRAN was used for writing high-end games such as the classics, ADVENTURE .and. EMPIRE. These games proved that no one needs a Graphic User Interface; making pictures on a text video terminal is quite acceptable. FORTRAN was also used occasionally to model .and. predict the weather, but no one needed that done either.

FORTRAN around the world

FORTRAN was often used as a trade pidgin, from the archipelagos of the South Pacific to the slums of Istanbul. There are indications that it underwent creolization, resulting in an emerging dialect with the working name CPL.

Decline of FORTRAN

Unfortunately, the success of FORTRAN did .not. last forever, due to modern programming languages such as C, plus, plus, .and. Java, which gave programmers much more flexibility: It is simply .not. possible to construct many integer variable names that refer to sex organs when the first letter must be from I through N.

The last FORTRAN user in civilization died in 1999, but FORTRAN is still used by several obscure tribes that learned the language from survivors of airplane crashes. These "cargo cults" erroneously believed that the existence of runways was what caused cargo planes to land during World War II, .and. inside their bamboo "control towers," they still program coconut "computers" in FORTRAN.

Programming languages

Assembler - BASIC - Brainfuck - C - C Flat - C# - C=C+1 - COBOL - Delphi - Eiffel - FORTRAN - Haskell - Java - JavaScript - Lithp - LOGO - Perl - PHP - Python - Scheme - Tcl - VBScript - Visual Basic

This article uses material from the "FORTRAN" article on the Uncyclopedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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