Modula-2 FAQ/part1 
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 Modula-2 FAQ/part1

Archive-name: computer-lang/Modula2-faq/part1
Version: 2.18
Last-modified: 1999 02 23
Posting-frequency: Monthly

                 Modula-2 Frequently Asked Questions

What is new in version 2.18 (1999 02 23)?

=46irst, an apology. I am currently Dean of Science at TWU, and have=20
not had much time for udating the FAQ until now--reading break. The=20
next update could be as late as May. But there's lots of new stuff=20
here.  Vendor information for  and Mill Hill,has been updated. The=20
latter has new Modula-2 for Java product. Section 3.6 has a=20
description of the BURKS materials, and access to the BURKS mirror of=20
the shareware text has changed. A new question on controlling=20
peripherals is asked and answered at 5.7. I have removed some=20
obsolete listings such as Metrowerks, and Modula-2*. A note on odds=20
and sods included with current MPW versions is included under the p1=20
listing. The answer on teaching Modula-2 at universities at 1.11 has=20
been expanded. The answer to 1.13 has also been expanded. Comments on=20
the ISO committee's work on Generics and OO are updated (both are=20
finished.) Some questions on OO Modula-2 are answered at 5.8 and 5.9,=20
and a question on Generic extensions at 5.10. Finally, numerous typos=20
have been fixed, new ones no doubt introduced, and three HTML errors=20
fixed (how come nobody complained?) Now, there's a morning shot.

What was new in version 2.17?
The first ten chapters of the Modula-2 shareware book have undergone=20
light revision to remove a few errors and the postscript files have=20
been regenerated. See section 1.4. A question on the special system=20
types has been added at 5.6.  Section 4.18 has an answer to a=20
question on Modula-Prolog, and the sections following have been=20
renumbered. Questions on decompilers and Y2K are answered in 3.4 and=20

1. Answers to many questions about Modula-2 as a programming notation=20
may be found in the shareware textbook. See section 1.41.4.
2. Answers to most other frequently asked questions about Modula-2=20
will be collected at Trinity Western University and included in this=20
document from time to time as it is revised.

Anyone making a submission guarantees that they have the right to do=20
so (copyright holder, or information in the public domain.) and that=20
the information is not from any source whose copyright lies with=20

4. I will update this summary file and post to the newsgroups=20
comp.lang.modula2 and to comp.answers and news.answers

5. The latest version will always be available in a Nisus (Mac) form in
The folder modula2 has a variety of other materials. This version of=20
the FAQ is readable as text by other word processors, but without any=20
formatting. It is also available from the site in plain=20
text form as=20
la2-faq/part1 and as=20

Part 1
Part 2

A. Modula-2 is a programming notation that corrects some of the=20
deficiencies of Pascal. It is suitable for learning programming, for=20
large projects written and maintained in the fashion of professional=20
software engineers, and for real time embedded systems.

1.1 Who developed Modula-2?
A. Modula-2 was developed by Niklaus Wirth at ETH in Zurich,=20
Switzerland in the late 70's. Wirth also developed Pascal and Oberon.

1.2 Where is this language described?
A. In Programming in Modula-2 3rd edition published by=20
Springer-Verlag in 1985. For the purposes of distinguishing this from=20
later variants, this description will be referred to herein as=20
classical Modula-2.

1.3 How do you pronounce Herr Wirth's name?
A. It is incorrect to call him by his value (worth.) Instead his name is vea=

1.4 Can I get a simple introduction to ISO Modula-2?
Yes, the latest revised edition of the shareware text (sorry, there=20
is no answer key yet) as of 1999 01 01 is at=20
1. TWU CS Students (Internal only) http://www.*-*-*.com/
2. Brighton, UK   http://www.*-*-*.com/
3. Vienna, Austria   http://www.*-*-*.com/
4. the U.S. http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~ethomson/modula2/

1.5 How does Modula-2 fit into the language zoo?
A. It is a descendent of Pascal and Modula, and one predecessor of=20
Modula-2+, Modula-2*, Modula-3, Oberon, Oberon-2, and various object=20
oriented versions of these. The latter languages are not replacements=20
for  Modula-2, merely later notations in the same family, having=20
strengths and weaknesses of their own. Modula-2 is sometimes=20
classified with Ada and C as the trio of modern languages in view of=20
their expressive power. Modula-2 is smaller and more readable than=20

1.6 What are the differences between Modula-2 and Pascal?
A. Modula-2 has separately compiled library modules, and makes much=20
less use of blocks (begin...) than Pascal. Identifiers are case=20
sensitive; there is no goto label; and I/O is in libraries rather=20
than built in. The IF statement is more versatile; and there are=20
facilities for concurrent programming via coroutines.

1.7 What is ISO Standard Modula-2?
A. A committee of ISO JTC1/SC22/WG13 with delegates from several=20
countries has met since 1987 to work on a standard description of=20
Modula-2 and a set of standard library modules.

A2. The official home of the ISO Modula-2 working group WG13 is at=20

1.7.1 What is the status of ISO Standard Modula-2?
A. The international standard (IS 10514) has been voted on and is now=20
official. The Object oriented extensions and Generic extensions have=20
also been voted on and are official.

1.7.2 Where can I get the Modula-2 standard?
A1. Contact your national standards body or ISO (the publisher.)

A2. For an older version, try looking in=20

1.7.3 What format is the standard document in?
A. Latex.

1.7.4 Who is the convenor of the standards group (WG13)?
A.Martin Schoenhacker of Vienna is the convenor.

1.7.5 When was the last WG13 meeting?
A1. It was March17-18 in Linz, Austria. For more details, follow=20

1.7.6 When is the next WG13 meeting?
A1. No meeting is currently on the schedule. One may be held if=20
necessary to do routine maintenance on the standards.

1.7.7 Will I be able to read the standard?
A1. The concrete syntax is written in a variation of EBNF (Extended=20
Backus-Naur Formalism) and should be accessible to most.

A2. Much of the base document's details are written in VDM-SL (Vienna=20
Development Method - Specification Language) which is a formalism for=20
giving a precise definition of a programming language in a=20
denotational style. It is worth learning VDM-SL if you plan to write=20
a compiler or use formal methods to do any design work.

1.7.8 Can I at least get electronic copies of the definition modules?
A. Yes, in or=20

1.7.9 Can I get ISO library code to port?
A. Yes, this is available from Rick Sutcliffe, the FAQ maintainer. He=20
has done an ISO I/O library for the Mac, and StonyBrook has ported=20
this to their system.  Anyone else is welcome to do a port provided:=20
(1) TWU gets a license to the software produced (2) All code changes=20
are marked and submitted to Rick Sutcliffe for the benefit of anyone=20
else who wants to do a port.

1.7.10 Can I get copies of the grammer?
A1. Yes, in http://www.*-*-*.com/
classical Modula-2, see also COCO (section 4.9)
A3. There are nice syntax diagrams for classical Modula-2 in=20
 and there are syntax diagrams for ISO Modula-2 stored at

1.8 What difference is there between classical and ISO Modula-2?
A. ISO Modula-2 has resolved most of the ambiguities in classical=20
Modula-2. It adds the data type COMPLEX and LONGCOMPLEX, exceptions,=20
module termination (FINALLY clause) and a complete standard I/O=20
library. There are numerous minor differences and clarifications.

1.8.1 What else is WG13 doing?
A. WG13 has completed two additional standards (separate from the=20
main one) for (a) object oriented Modula-2 and (b) generic=20
programming facilities. Older versions of the generics proposal are=20
stored in the directory

1.9 What is (was) Turbo Modula-2
A. Borland prepared CP/M versions of Modula-2 and sold them for a=20
time in Europe (also in North America via a distributer.) One of=20
these versions later migrated to become TopSpeed Modula-2.

1.10 Where and for what is Modula-2 used?
A1. Modula-2 is widely used for teaching the fundamentals of sound=20
programming techniques, data ...

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Fri, 14 Sep 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 [ 3 post ] 

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