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Language peer sets for TEMPO:
United States
United States/1978
Designed 1978
1970s languages
Fourth generation
High Cold War


alternate simple view
Country: United States
Designed 1978
Published: 1978

Jones and Muchnick, Kansas 1978

"TEMPO is a pedagogic language designed as a tool for teaching some of the semantic and pragmatic
aspects of programming languages. [...] One major design geal of the language is to provide a context in which the effects of design features on implementation efficiency can be clearly observed. Since we have concentrated on semantic issues, the syntax is deliberately as simple as
possible, omitting such (desirable) structural features as if...then...else, while, for, and case
statements. However, such structures may easily be added by purely syntactic methods, such as
syntax macros, as we show in the version of the language named TEMPO/SP."

Designed to allow for extremely late binding times, to minimize the difference between programming as study/design and study as running an implementation. Simple system with subtle syntax, designed to be the first step along the way towards Winograd's intelligent programming assistant.

"Another unfortunate consequence of the current design philosophy is that if a user anticipates eventually running the program he is designing on a production basis, he is impelled to code from the beginning in a language chosen for its runtime efficiency rather than its ease of use. The alternate approach of designing and debugging in a more convenient language and later translating to a more efficient one is highly impractical because it forces the programmer to be fully competent in a variety of languages with extremely diverse syntax and semantics and to be able to translate among them. This probably accounts in part for the continued use of FORTRAN and COBOL in spite of the now longterm existence of much more powerful and convenient languages."

Related languages
ALGOL 60 Revised TEMPO   Influence
Alphard TEMPO   Influence
Pascal TEMPO   Influence
POPLER TEMPO   Influence
SNOBOL4 TEMPO   Influence
TEMPO TEMPO/SP   Extension of

  • Jones, Neil D. and Steven S. Muchnick (1976) Jones, Neil D. and Steven S. Muchnick "Binding time optimization in programming languages: Some thoughts toward the design of an ideal language" pp77-94 Extract: Introduction & Overview Abstract DOI
  • Jones N.D. et al, (1978) Jones N.D. et al, "TEMPO: A Unified Treatment of Binding Time and Parameter Passing Concepts in Programming Languages", LNCS 66, Springer 1978.
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