FORTRAN IV standardized. ASA X3.9-1966.
The chief new features are: expressions of types CHARACTER and LABEL; ENCODE and DECODE; extended arithmetic expressions, DO loop parameters, and subscripts; addressable input/output; array expressions and assignments. Versions of various subsets of these are included in a number of existing or proposed compilers; the time seems opportune to seek some agreement on them.
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in The Computer Journal 14(3) May 1971 view details
The Early Days - When Efficiency was Paramount
Fortran is now so old that we forget what a great advance it represented in 1954. John Backus, the originator, has recently revealed that one of his greatest fears was that Fortran would fail because it could not perform as well as machine code. In the event, the efficiency was acceptable and it turned out that the productivity gain from the Fortran (Formula Translator) way of expressing solutions to problems, which were mainly numerical in those days, was so important that even after many decades, it is debatable whether newer languages represent any further significant advance for these problems. The fact that Fortran is still the main language for scientific and engineering problems testifies to this. Extract: Universal Nature
Since then, Fortran has been extended to increase its power and range of application. It would be true to say that there is no computing problem that can not be solved using Fortran, with some machine code routines if necessary. The ability to interface to machine code (or "external") routines is essential to Fortran.
Let us admit that Fortran has been far from ideal for problems involving character or text manipulation, but a solution has always been possible and recent changes are greatly improving this. Extract: The 1966 Fortran Standard
The 1966 Fortran Standard
Fortran became so widely used on many different computers that standardisation was highly desirable to maintain portability.
The Committee that produced the 1966 standard had to define a subset of all the features provided in the then-emerging language that manufacturers called Fortran IV, to abstract the underlying concepts and to draft the standard document in terms of these.
It was the first computer language to be standardised. The standard was a success in that suppliers could meet the standard and users could ask for and get a product which would run all their existing programs. One problem has been that very few people know what is in the standard. Standards are rarely taught as part of Fortran training courses. Extract: Problems caused by permissiveness
A second problem with the standard is the deliberate allowance of extensions to the language. Any supplier can add any new feature he likes or his customers ask for. The only restriction is that he cannot give interpretations to existing statements in the language which are contrary to the standard interpretations.
A consequence is that without exception all compilers implement an extended language and for the novice user there is often no way of knowing what is standard and what is not. In this light, it is not surprising that many programs written in (some supplier's dialect of) Fortran are neither standard conforming nor portable.
Members of the Fortran Specialist Group of the British Computer Society have been pressing for a "conformity" option for the user who wants to write standard conforming, portable programs. It would make the Fortran processor (compiler, etc.) warn the user when he is using non-standard facilities, but this option is not yet part of the standard.
in Fortran Forum 1(2) 1982 view details
in Computer Standards & Interfaces (Fortran 90 Issue) 18(4) August 1996 view details