PL/I Frequently Asked Questions [repost with new URLs] 
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 PL/I Frequently Asked Questions [repost with new URLs]


(Q1) What is PL/I?

     PL/I is a general-purpose programming language, which
     is used for solving problems in a variety of fields
     such as commerce, science (including mathematics,
     physics, chemistry), engineering (incl. civil, electrical,
     aeronautics), medicine and so on.  It can be used for
     system programming, and the facilitites are such that
     it is rarely if ever necessary to resort to machine-language
     or assembly-language programming to solve problems.

     It has more power than Pascal, fortran 90, BASIC, C, and
     COBOL, and has comparable facilities to Ada.
     The main areas where PL/I is superior include interrupt
     handling, the built-in debugging aids, the macro
     processor facilities, string-handling and input-output
     (see below).

     The language has good documenting and self-documenting
     facilities;  programs are easy to read and to understand.
     It bears some resemblance to Fortran and BASIC.

     The language is suitable for beginners, as well as for
     anyone wanting to become a professional.

     An excellent summary of PL/I can be found at:


     [a plain text version is attached at the end of this FAQ.]

     Sample codes can be found at the following URLs:


        (these are in plain text form).

     Sample codes of a tutorial nature are found at:


        (Click on the keywords for an explanation.) [under construction]

(Q2) On what systems is it available?

     PL/I is available on at least the following systems:

     *  IBM PC and compatibles (80x86).

        *  IBM PL/I for OS/2:
                Professional Edition

                There is also the PL/I Toolkit, which is accompanied
                by the live editor LPEX..
                ---available from IBM

        *  Liant Open PL/I, for 80x86 & Pentium running UNIX SVR3 and SVR4
                ---available from Liant Software Corporation
                959 Concord Street
                Framingham, MA 01701-4613
                Tel. (508) 872-8700  Fax (508) 626-2221
                (their PL/I generally is available on Unix-based systems)

        * Windows NT -- available from Liant

        * Windows 95/NT -- available from IBM

     * IBM AS/400
                --- available from IBM

     *  IBM mainframes
                --- available from IBM

     *  HP 9000 HP-UX
                ---available from Liant Software Corporation (address sbove)

     *  SPARC SunOS 4.x, Solaris 2.x
                ---available from Liant

     *  IBM RS/6000 AIX
                ---available from Liant Software Corporation;
                ---also available from IBM as PL/I Set for AIX.

     *  Data General AViiON with DG-UX
                ---available from Liant.

     *  Digital Equipment Corp. on Open VMS and Alpha AXP systems
                ---available from Digital Equipment Corporation.
                UniPrise, Inc. now provides compilers for these systems.
                   (PL/I for Digital Unix)

     *  Stratus Computer, Inc.
                ---available under VOS on all Stratus computers except AX/R-S.

(Q3) How can I try out PL/I?

        There is a demo copy on

        There's also the original Digital Research PL/I for DOS.
        It's a subset of PL/I, of course, because it had to fit
        in 64K originally (I think).

        You'll find it at http://www.*-*-*.com/

        Find the PCDOS section, and then checkout DOWNLOADS.

        Be sure to download the utilities (including the linker)
        as well as the compiler and sample codes.

(Q4) What do the compilers provide?

        All compilers provide enhanced versions of the ANSI standard (the IBM
        AS/400 PL/I compiler adheres to SAA rules).  There's a
        summary of what you'll find in PL/I at

        In the case of IBM PL/I for OS/2, PL/I Set for AIX,
        Windws 95 and Windows NT, a number of new language features
        is provided and include:

        (a) list processing in which the pointers (handles) are
            bound to the structures with which they are linked;
        (b) ordinals;
        (c) user-defined types;
        (d) Unsigned integer type;
        (e) New DO loop options that cause the loop to
            terminate without overrunning the limit (specifically
            for ordinals and unsigned integers);
        (f) A much-enhanced macro-processor.
        (this is not an exhaustive list)

        There are also more than new built-in functions, including
        extra-special DATE/TIME functions, string-handling
        functions, housekeeping functions (e.g.,
        where-am-I-called-from?), and ordinal functions
        (including a function to supply the name of an ordinal!).
        General details are appended to this posting.

(Q5) What textbooks are available?

        Some of the best include:
           R.A. Barnes,     "PL/I for Programmers", North-Holland, 1979.
           J.K. Hughes,     "PL/I Structured Programming", 3rd Ed., Wiley, 1986.
           G.F. Groner,     "PL/I Programming in Technological Applications",
                             Books on Demand, Ann Arbor, MI, 1971.
           M.E. Anderson,   "PL/I for Programmers", Prentice-Hall, 1973.
           D.R. Stoutemyer, "PL/I Programming for Engineering & Science",
                             Prentice-Hall, 1971.
           R. Reddy & C. Ziegler, "PL/I: Structured Programming and
                             Problem Solving", West, 1986, ISBN 0-314-93915-6.

        New books:
           E. Sturm, PL/I fuer Workstations (in German language),
                             Vieweg-Verlag (1997). 278 pages,
                             ISBN: 3-528-24792-4
           R. Vowels,       "Introduction to PL/I, Algorithms, and
                             Structured Programming", 3rd Ed., Sept. 1997,
                             ISBN 0-9596384-9-0  725 pages, A4 size
                             [details at
                              http://www.*-*-*.com/ ]
                             Comes with a disc containing all the programs,
                             procedures, and functions from the book.  The
                             disc was first published in October 1996.

        The following are good PL/I reference manuals. (They also
        highlight the additions that the OS/2 version provides
        compared with the mainframe version; thus you can use
        it as a reference on either system.)

           IBM, "PL/I for OS/2: Language Reference", 1994 edition
           IBM, "PL/I for OS/2: Built-in Functions", 1994 edition

(Q6) Is there a newsletter?

        "The PL/I Connection" is published by Team PL/I.
        To request a free subscription, send email to:

        Recent copies are accessible at:

(Q7) Is there a home page?

        There are at least eight of interest:
                (the PL/I Home page)
                (this gives you an overview of PL/I)
                (then click on the LPI button)
                (then select OpenVMS ..., or you may find the direct
                 link quicker ->
  (might not work)
                Or if you prefer, you can start on http://www.*-*-*.com/
                it from there.  When the Languages display comes up,
                look for PL/I.  Click on that, and then you can
                go to different sites.

            http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~sisasa/oasis/oasis-pli.spml
                The PL/I Oasis lists several interesting PL/I sites.


                Is the HTML version of the FAQ for PL/I.

                This is the PL/I resource page.  It links to
                PL/I codes, books, reading materials including
                direct links to all issues of the PL/I Newsletter.
                It is currently under construction.

            http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~hs574
                The DarkStar Site contains resources for PL/I
                including Books 'n' Links.
                Visit the DarkStar Site, there's a lot more in store.

            http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~jcanterb/pli/
                is a new Unofficial PL/I Resource and Resume Page
                created by Jerry Canterbury,  The purpose of this
                page is twofold.

                First, it attempts to gather links to *all* PL/I
                Internet resources in one location.

                Second, it will allow those who have a need for
                PL/I skills to connect with those who have PL/I
                skills.  If you have PL/I on your resume, Jerry
                will add a link to your resume if you want.

        Contributions of codes etc are welcome.
                Send (in plaintext ASCII) to:

     Other possible sites are as follows:

        Japan: http://www.*-*-*.com/

        If you know of any other home pages, please advise the author.

(Q8) Where can I find discussion groups?

     *  A PL/I newsgroup was established in January 1996
        following the passing on 3 January 1996 of voting for
        the newsgroup "comp.lang.pl1" (350 votes for, 18
        votes against).

           In the body of the note, enter:

           SUB PL1-L yourname

     *  On Compuserve, enter: go os2df1
           Then go to subsection 6: "Rexx and other languages".

     *  Russian: Discussion of PL/I in Russian takes place on

     *  German: Seems to take place at:    de.comp.sys.amiga.misc

     *  Or consider attending a SHARE or GUIDE PL/I presentation
        as either a spectator or presenter.  Postings appear from
        time to time in comp.lang.pl1

(Q9) How did PL/I originate?

     PL/I came into being as a result of an attempt to produce
     a revision of FORTRAN.  Such were the changes necessary that
     it was not possible to introduce the new features needed
     to bring

read more »

Thu, 15 Feb 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 PL/I Frequently Asked Questions [repost with new URLs]
Hey, Robin!

...try to check _before_ posting your _new_ urls:-)))))))))))))))))))))


Thu, 15 Feb 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 [ 2 post ] 

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