SEAL(ID:2746/sea002)

Business relative language  


for "Standard Electronic Accounting Language"

Alex d'Agapeyeff STC UK 1962

Business relative language from STC UK 1962 for Zebra and Stantec. Feature use of "Books" as data resources which had a complicated rather OO flavoured structure

Hardware:
References:
  • Baecker, H. D. "The Growth Of A Commercial Programming Language" pp305-324 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming" (2) 1961 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • BCS Bulletin - Literature and References to Simplified Programming Schemes for Computers, Available or Projected - November 1961 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming" (2) 1961 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Blum, E. K. review in ACM of Goodman (1961) view details Abstract:
    The paper by J. Iliffe on "The Use of the GENIE System in Numerical Calculation" describes a mathematical programming language for the Rice University computer. The GENIE language bears a strong resemblance both to ALGOL and to the ADES language developed several years ago by the reviewer. GENIE has some of the best features of both languages. It also embodies some ideas not possessed by either of these systems or any other system of this kind. Perhaps the most important departure from .\LGOL is the extension of the domain of possible values assigned to the symbols in the language. Whereas in ALGOL values are limited to real, integer and Boolean, GENIE permits as additional domains of values other symbol sets and instruction sets. Thus, the value of the expression P(ll, a) could be a set of single-address machine instructions for performing the addition ~ + v. The claim is also made that analytical processes can be performed as well as numerical processes. Another feature, although not original in GENIE, is worth mentioning. This is the use of a table of codewords for assignment of storage to arrays. The use of codewords rather than the ALGOL array declarations (or the dimension statements in FORTRAN) permits a much more flexible and efficient handling of storage assignments for arrays both in the source language and in the compiler.
    Extract: Review
    The paper by R. F. Clippinger titled "FACT -- A Business- Compiler: Description and Comparison with COBOL and Commercial Translator," must be singled out as an example c(-; the kind of paper which a compendium such as this should strive to present. Clippinger's excellent paper does much more than describe the FACT system for the Honeywell 800. Avoiding the dreary style of the instruction manual which one finds in most papers on programming, Clippinger gives a well-reasoned aoJcarefully thought-out discussion of the general aspects of business data processing, shows how FACT treats each major problem area and explains the technical factors which influenced the particuls~ technique chosen. At the same time, he manages to give a good account of the details of FACT by referring to 17 exhibits placed. Extract: SEAL
    In another paper, "A Critical Discussion of COBOL," is a report by a committee of the British Computer Society. The report is outspokenly hostile to COBOL, but the sketchy critique is rather superficial and does not adequately support the negative conclusions. Although not a member of this committee, H. D. Baecker explains in his brief article why Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd. rejects COBOL and then proceeds to explain the SEAL (Standard Electronic Accounting Language) for use with the STANTEC computer. Perhaps the most interesting part of this paper is the author's remark, "It is therefore pertinent to enquire whether in fact English, or any other existing language, is suitable for expressing the structures and operations of data processing . . . it is necessary to enquire whether the common tongue of the inmates of an office is necessarily suited to their activity
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming" (2) 1961 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Willey, E.L.; d'Agapeyeff, A.; Marion Tribe, B.J. Gibbens, Michelle Clark, "Some commercial Autocodes -- A comparative study", A.P.I.C. Studies in Data Processing #1, Academic Press, London, 1961, pp. 53. view details Extract: SEAL
    SEAL
    The Standard Electronic Accounting Language. This is the only language studied which does not have a free form structure. Possibly as a consequence it has less restrictions on the words the programmer can invent as identifiers. It is the first language to allow commentary and invented noise words within instructions, and to enable the nature of "Result in hand" to be examined directly.
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming" (2) 1961 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Barron, D. W. review of Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming", Vol. 2 view details Abstract: This is the second volume in the series produced under the auspices of the Automatic Programming Information Centre at Brighton. It contains a series of independent papers in two groups, one concerned with scientific programming languages, the other with commercial programming languages. The Editor's aim "to exhibit current trends by a sample collection of original reports," is only partially achieved by a disjointed series of papers of widely varying standards. Some important trends are not mentioned, but there is a promise that the omissions will be rectified in a later volume. Extract: COBOL, FACT, IBM Commercial Translator, SEAL
    The "commercial" papers are mostly devoted to COBOL. There is a detailed description, by Jean E. Sammet, and a paper of general views on COBOL, by the same author, also "A critical discussion of COBOL," by several members of the British Computer Society. A long paper by R. F. Clippinger describes FACT, a commercial language developed for the HONEYWELL 800, and compares it in considerable detail with COBOL and IBM Commercial Translator, aiming to show the superiority of FACT over these languages. "The growth of a commercial programming language" by H. D. Baeker describes SEAL, a language developed for the Stantec Data Processing System, and again aims to demonstrate its superiority over COBOL.
          in The Computer Bulletin June 1962 view details
  • Clark, K.W. "File processing in SEAL" pp311-326 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming" (3) 1963 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Stoker, J. W. review of Humby 1963 and Clark 1963 view details
          in ACM Computing Reviews 5(06) November-December 1964 view details
  • Richardson, Maurice "What Might Have Been" in Resurrection Vol 17 view details Abstract: The "story of missed opportunity" is the author's description of the Zebra computer. He explains why he thinks it was one of the best designs of its time, and describes some of the problems encountered when it was first put to use for commercial data processing. Extract: Mention en passant
    What advantages and disadvantages did Zebra have as a commercial computer? The store of 8K 33-bit words was large for its day, and the 312 microsecond instruction time was quite good. Its programming was very close in concept to modern microprogramming, which made programming rather difficult in Normal Code (NC - Zebra's Assembler). Simple Code (an autocode with floating point facilities) was available for one-off jobs, but at Hornsey we had to use NC to make the programs efficient.

    In a far-sighted move ahead of its time, Alex d'Agapayeff developed the first attempt at a high-level commercial language for Zebra called SEAL (Standard Electronic Accounting Language).


          in ACM Computing Reviews 5(06) November-December 1964 view details