Questions tagged [programming]

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What is the most recent programming language that didn't support comments? [closed]

I'm sure that some early programming languages didn't support comments. And perhaps some tiny interpreted languages did not. Putting aside esoteric languages, what was the most recent significant ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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String manipulation in MS-DOS 6.22 batch files

So I've been struggling to find any information about batch files in MS-DOS through all the information about CMD, but basically I'm trying to create a folder like 'Month-year'. I've managed to create ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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Is there an equivalent of "#pragma once" in RGBASM (Gameboy DMG assembly language)?

So I am really just starting out in my assembly coding adventure. I have a little bit of knowledge of C/C++ but nothing too advanced yet. But I also used to do a tiny bit of Z80 assembly, and I wanted ...
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13 votes
2 answers
774 views

What was the first game console to ship with an official C development SDK?

I'm pretty sure (but please correct me if I'm wrong!) in the 4th generation (e.g. SNES, Sega Genesis) assembly for whatever chip the console had was still the most common development language(s) and ...
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29 votes
2 answers
4k views

What exactly is/was threaded p-code?

Quickbasic 4.0 added threaded p-code which at the time I remember thinking was magical. But I have no idea what it means. What exactly is/was threaded p-code (and is the p actually the Greek letter ...
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6 votes
1 answer
215 views

XMS function 0Ch "Lock Extended Memory Block"

I have a question about this function that has bugged me for years, so I decided to let this community a try :) So, this function supposedly locks a XMS extended memory block in place, and returns an ...
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22 votes
4 answers
4k views

What was the first programming language with generics?

To belatedly celebrate the release of Go 1.18, I ask the question: what was the first programming language with support for generics? For concreteness (to prevent anyone trying to weasel out with ‘...
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12 votes
2 answers
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Did early versions of DR-DOS preserve more registers than MS-DOS?

The early Amstrad IBM compatible PC the PC1512 initially included DR-DOS, according to its page at Old-Computers.com: It was sold with MS-DOS 3.2, DR-DOS plus 1.2 (an operating system from Digital ...
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35 votes
5 answers
13k views

What was the first Object Oriented programming language?

Back in 1980, I started programming in HP-Basic and later wrote quite a lot of Z-80 Assembly code. Then I progressed to Pascal and Modula-2. C++ looked too scary but later Delphi made life much easier....
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2 votes
2 answers
260 views

Any links / info on the programming language used by the Bit 60 (by Bit Corporation)?

Any links / info on the programming language used by the Bit 60 (by Bit Corporation) ? I just re-found this machine, and as previously, still cannot find any info on the programming language it used....
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10 votes
1 answer
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Nontrivial B program

I have been able to find very little about the B programming language online. the predominant resources seem incomplete, particularly in regards to standard library functions. I have not been able ...
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6 votes
0 answers
190 views

Atari ST image viewer with unusual zoom

I'm looking for info on an Atari ST (16-color) full-screen image viewer that I once used. When zooming in the edges between colors were smoothly curved (instead of e.g. no smoothing or interpolation ...
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3 votes
1 answer
161 views

In DirectX 8, how can I have a texture cover another texture only partially? [closed]

I am creating a Real Time Strategy game with DirectX 8. However, DirectX 8 supports pixel shaders only minimally. Is there a way that I can change the colors of individual triangles before the mesh is ...
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16 votes
2 answers
1k views

When did argument types first appear in formal argument lists?

Following on from this popular question about K&R-style argument specification, in which we discussed the history of routines with formal argument lists not including type information (i.e., as in ...
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40 votes
4 answers
6k views

When was this C function definition style, with type declarations of parameters after the parameter list, invented?

Recently I dug a little bit into old graphics libraries and found libxmi. The site was last updated on 08/09/2000. And in the source code I found the following style of function definitions which I ...
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21 votes
2 answers
4k views

Who invented small string optimization?

In the source code of the 1972 Pascal compiler (a very large OCR-ed PDF), there are declarations of variables and record fields of type ALFA, which are "packed arrays" of 10 characters. ...
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

What did memory dumps look like on 36-bit machines like PDP-10s?

I spend a lot of time looking at hex dumps of memory, which have a format that should be familiar to most: 00010000 00 FF 48 65 6c 6c 6f 20-77 6f 72 6c 64 21 00 00 ..Hello world!.. But on 36-bit ...
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13 votes
4 answers
3k views

Which is the first non-assembly (and binary) language to write operating system(s)?

Many programming languages predating C, like FORTRAN, LISP, B, BCPL, were either special purpose or too heavy to write OS. OS were bound to their hardware architecture and died with them. C was used ...
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11 votes
0 answers
338 views

Was the RPL language for the Commodore PET ever used other than by its author?

Note that this question is about the programming language RPL for the Commodore PET, not the HP language with the same name. RPL was developed by Tim Stryker and sold through his company Samurai ...
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16 votes
1 answer
498 views

When was an image of an apple first used to promote the APL language

The APL community is contemplating the adoption of a common logo but some are worried about trouble from Apple lawyers. Now, IBM and others have been using apple motifs in promoting APL for a long ...
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  • 559
20 votes
6 answers
9k views

How did early computers handle mice?

Early computer mice worked by sending a series of pulses; the more rapid the movement, the higher the frequency. How was this handled at the computer end? At one level, it sounds easy: just run a loop,...
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7 votes
1 answer
262 views

Are there any other historical traces of the earlier versions of the Alternate Multiplex Interrupt Specification by Ralf Brown?

I'm a fervent user of the Alternate Multiplex Interrupt Specification for 86-DOS systems, a method using a common set of multiplexer interfaces over interrupt 2Dh. It was originally developed in the ...
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  • 449
10 votes
1 answer
512 views

Spin HDD up/down in DOS App?

Is there a register I can write to using a DOS based C app to spin the IDE HDD down after the app boots then back up upon the app close? Specifically I want to just put spin down/up commands in the C ...
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  • 101
6 votes
1 answer
217 views

What bit do the BBRn/BBSn opcodes check?

I am working with a W65C02S chip and it has extra opcodes, BBRn and BBSn that branch on a bit set, or bit reset. However, I cannot find on which register or memory location this check is done. When ...
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24 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is 'Adaptive Tile Refresh' in the context of Commander Keen?

The question Did John Carmack really invent "Adaptive Tile Refresh"? asks about the origins of the scrolling and drawing techniques used to allow an MS-DOS PC to provide a NES console-like ...
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0 votes
0 answers
292 views

What is the origin of the "my" variable/method/et-al in didactic materials?

I think back to many tutorials and code snippets in which I have seen variables, functions, and files with "my" or "my_" prepended. What is the origin of this convention?
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6 votes
3 answers
242 views

Looking for a multiline text gadget for Intuition on a 1.3 Amiga

I've come to understand that Intuition, the GUI framework on the stock A500 has 4 types of gadgets: 'boolean' - checkboxes and buttons 'Proportional' - sliders string inputs integer inputs I'm ...
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

How did Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages know it was running on a Game Boy Advance?

I remember finding out there was a secret area in both games that you could only get to if you were playing on a Game Boy Advance. Even the 3DS releases don't allow access to them. My question is, how ...
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11 votes
2 answers
525 views

Was `wchar_t` ever widely adopted by the Unix culture in actual practice?

My very rough understanding of character encoding history as it relates to the Unix family of platforms/languages is that: They started using single-byte (7/8/9-ish bit) character sets like ASCII/...
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  • 2,591
30 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why did the monsters have "infinite invisible pillars" of hitboxes vertically in all versions of the DOOM engine?

Even in the last version of the DOOM engine, v1.9, used for Final DOOM, there is this strange limitation in which all the monsters have an invisible, infinitely tall "pillar" above and ...
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  • 309
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Porting use of BASIC to-the-power ^ operator

So I was porting one of the old BASIC games from the book "BASIC Computer Games", Ref: https://github.com/coding-horror/basic-computer-games to Python, just for fun. I came across the ...
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  • 303
0 votes
2 answers
183 views

why the result comes out as 1, rather than 2, in this 8086 Subtract with borrow? [closed]

STC MOV AL, 5 SBB AL, 3 ; AL = 5 - 3 = 2, but I am getting 1 .. why? RET
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26 votes
7 answers
5k views

Why do variable names in BASIC need type suffixes?

The BASIC I'm most familiar with is Atari BASIC since I had an Atari 800 way back when. The Atari BASIC Source Book includes details about how Atari BASIC maintains variables. There is a Variable Name ...
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7 votes
1 answer
296 views

What CPU architecture was first to implement 'inverted borrow' carry flag during subtractions?

Background In two's complement arithmetics, if one wants to calculate a subtraction having only an adder that calculates {cout,result}=full_adder(arg1,arg2,cin), where cin and cout are incoming and ...
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6 votes
2 answers
395 views

Flash border color during Kernal LOAD routine

I would like to use the Kernal's LOAD routine to load a file into memory, because that seems to be the easiest way to do it. However, that LOAD call is synchronous in the sense that it returns once ...
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  • 2,533
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

What happened to MODULA-2?

I studied at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich or ETHZ in Switzerland, where Professor Dr. Niklaus Wirth developed MODULA-2. What happened to his project?
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16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why can't I invoke the next interrupt service by incrementing the AX register after calling the same interrupt?

I have two snippets of 8086 assembly code, both of which are supposed to do the same thing: make the mouse appear on the screen. Show_Mouse: push ax mov ax,0 ;Reset Mouse int 33h ...
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  • 1,478
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Which language had the first scanf?

As a companion to the question "What was the first programming language to have 'printf'?", which language had the first scanf? It doesn't have to be literally called scanf, but I am looking ...
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5 votes
1 answer
391 views

Why does the ‘Get Next Selector Increment Value’ DPMI call exist?

In DPMI, interrupt 0x31 services 0x0000 and 0x0100 are capable of simultaneously allocating multiple protected-mode selectors in a single call. When that happens, both services return only the first ...
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20 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can I access the VGA card's ROM fonts with interrupt 10h operation 1130h in protected mode C?

I'm using Open Watcom 1.9 to write some 286 real mode, and 386 protected mode software for DOS in C. In real mode, I can retrieve a pointer to the system ROM character bitmaps in real mode using int ...
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  • 9,875
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

What was the first programming language to use `+` for string concatenation?

Many reasonably modern programming languages (Java, Python, C++, Ruby) use + to represent string concatenation. "A" + "B" is the string "AB". Languages with a more ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What really prevented PC games from using hardware scrolling on CGA

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_tile_refresh: CGA (the previous generation of PC graphics hardware) lacks features for scrolling in hardware so PC games started featuring ...
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  • 1,744
3 votes
1 answer
790 views

Why were procedure parameter specifications optional in the ALGOL 60 Revised Report?

In Algol 60 procedure declarations, the 'specification' part was optional for by-name parameters. The specification is what gives (loosely speaking) the type of parameter - whether it's real, integer,...
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  • 27.8k
5 votes
1 answer
193 views

Which extant ALGOL-60 compilers fully support numeric labels?

This question is prompted by a related one by texdr.aft. It turns out that the Revised report on Algol-60 allowed numeric labels (3.5.1, page 15), <label> ::= <identifier> | <unsigned ...
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  • 15.8k
16 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why does Pascal have numeric labels?

Pascal was intended, in part, to be a simple language to implement. Some of the design decisions reflecting this are Declarations/definitions must be given in a strict order (labels, constants, types,...
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  • 3,082
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

In what year did term "program" first appear in the meaning of "series of coded instructions"?

I'm trying to figure out year when the term "program" was firstly used is the meaning ‘a series of coded instructions which directs a computer in carrying out a specific task’. Additionally ...
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42 votes
5 answers
8k views

Why didn't C++ specify filename extensions?

Apparently even today there is no single "official" standard for C++ file extensions. There are just common conventions. To me this stands out as an anomaly... file extensions are heavily ...
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  • 3,736
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What was the first programming language, other than Lisp, to have “short-circuiting” Boolean expressions?

(This question is, of course, another thrilling installment of “The history of expression evaluation”; see the previous episodes here and here.) In many programming languages, the Boolean operators ∧ ...
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  • 3,082
58 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why were single quotes ('…') chosen for characters, and double quotes ("…") for strings?

In C, '' is used to denote a character, while "" is used to denote a string. Why was this syntax chosen? I tried to research this using Wikipedia’s Timeline of Programming Languages along ...
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  • 633
34 votes
3 answers
5k views

What was the first programming language to support “operator chaining”?

The Python language has a neat feature: An expression like x < y <= z is interpreted, according to mathematical convention, as equivalent to x < y and y <= z. Operands are evaluated only ...
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  • 3,082