Re: http://www-cs-faculty.∼uno/programs/tcalc.w.gz

Philip Taylor P.Taylor at Hellenic-Institute.Uk
Sun May 17 09:50:44 CEST 2020

Thank you, Shreevatsa — very interesting and informative.  I confess I remain very sceptical about pointer arithmetic, no matter how implemented :  it seems to me that if one explicitly uses pointer arithmetic, rather than relying on the compiler to handle abstract data structures, one is virtually working at the level of machine code / assembler.

Looking at Don's /Fundamental Algorithms /(1968/9), where he introduces MIX, it is obvious that at that time he was thinking very much in terms of assembly-level programming, yet Dijkstra's/Dahl's/Hoare's /Structured Programming/, written only 3–4 years later, focusses exclusively on algorithms expressed entirely in an Algol-like notation.  They were contemporaries, they were peers, they were intellectual equals, yet they chose two very different approaches.  TeX, it is generally acknowledged, is not the easiest program to modify, even though its documentation (through the medium of WEB) is exemplary.  Had TeX been written by Messrs Dijkstra/Dahl/Hoar, would it have been easier to extend, I am forced to wonder ...

/Philip Taylor/
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