PL/I to C conversion 
Author Message
 PL/I to C conversion


Date: 9 Dec 2002 06:32:15 -0800
Quote:
> I would like to add my two cents to the PL/I to C discussion.  There
> have been comments made about certain things not being able to be
> converted due to the differences in the languages.

.
It's not just differences.  There are facilities in PL/I that
C just doesn't have.  Such as error detection and interception.
.
Quote:
>  Yes, there are
> differences in the languages but as a previous poster responded there
> are ways to emulate the functionality.

.
Not all of it can be emulated.  They (vendors) even admit so.
.
Quote:
> Some of the code might not
> look as pretty as it did in the PL/I, but that is one of the
> tradeoffs.  As for how possible is it, let me at least give you a few
> facts.  The company I work for, Datatek Inc. (www.datatek-net.com)
> has had a PL/I to C conversion tool for years.  The tool is used
> in-house as part of our migration services.  It has successfully
> converted millions of lines of PL/I.  The resulting C code runs in
> production environments with large user counts.  The converted
> software not only runs on customer systems, but is actually sold as
> commercial software as well.
.
> Is a PL/I to C conversion for everyone?  No, of course not.  The
> reasons why folks consider converting runs the gambit:
.
> unable to get PL/I programmers (especially cheaper entry level ones
> i.e. the college kids - who these days only want to seem to write in
> java)

.
PL/I programmers are available.
PL/I courses are being offered, and naturally, anyone who can
write programs in Java can adapt to writing PL/I.
.
Language as an issue is a red herring.  If all they can get is "kids"
who only want to "write in Java", employers will be in worse situation
as regards C, which is even more different from PL/I than Java.
.
Quote:
> want to consolidate their hodgepodge of different language based
> systems to a single standard language

.
PL/I would be a better choice for this viv-a-vis C,
as the latter does not have the functionality of PL/I.
In particular, it does not have the robustness of
a PL/I executable.
.
Quote:
> fear of vendors commitment to the language

.
No chance of that, with vendors including:
IBM (over a range of product lines including the PC, S/390 (z/390 now)
     AIX etc;
Kednos Corp. (for ex-Digital products)
Gentronics (Wang)
Stratus
Liant Software Corp. (over a range of systems including HP, Intel, etc)
Siemens
.
Quote:
> runtime license costs

.
For the VisualAge product on the PC, there are no runtime licence costs.
(I don't have current info on all the other vendors.)
.
Quote:
> etc...
.
> I'm not trying to pitch anything here, but just trying to lay down a
> couple of facts.  The conversion IS possible and it HAS been done.

.
So is conversion to assembly language.  Certain "features" of C leave
something to be desired, particularly a C program's ability to self-
destruct, or to produce garbage results without warning.
In many respects, C is no better than assembler.
.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
> Whether a conversion is warranted is completely dependent on each
> site's circumstance.



Sun, 29 May 2005 20:48:57 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion

Quote:
> > unable to get PL/I programmers (especially cheaper entry level ones
> > i.e. the college kids - who these days only want to seem to write in
> > java)
> .
> PL/I programmers are available.

But not readily, or everywhere, and especially for the "right" (=low) price.

Quote:
> PL/I courses are being offered, and naturally, anyone who can
> write programs in Java can adapt to writing PL/I.

Yes, they probably CAN.......but most probably wouldn't want to.  (or offer
them loads of money).
Reagrdless of what we all here think, if anyone else has heard of PLI, they
normally regard it as a dinosaur language, and no-one wants to be stuck with
that. They want to do something more "modern" .... or at least something
they've heard of     (eg, the "in" languages like C++, Java, or anything
"webby").
When I started, jobs for Assembler were still commonly advertised, with PLI,
COBOL and the new wizzy RPG up and coming. Who wanted to do a job in stuffy
Assember ? No way.
Now the tables are turned, PLI is the stuffy language and, right or wrong,
Java and C++ etc are regarded as "where it's at".
Tim.


Mon, 30 May 2005 00:44:58 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion

Quote:

>>>unable to get PL/I programmers (especially cheaper entry level ones
>>>i.e. the college kids - who these days only want to seem to write in
>>>java)

>>.
>>PL/I programmers are available.

> But not readily, or everywhere, and especially for the "right" (=low) price.

>>PL/I courses are being offered, and naturally, anyone who can
>>write programs in Java can adapt to writing PL/I.

> Yes, they probably CAN.......but most probably wouldn't want to.  (or offer
> them loads of money).
> Reagrdless of what we all here think, if anyone else has heard of PLI, they
> normally regard it as a dinosaur language, and no-one wants to be stuck with
> that. They want to do something more "modern" .... or at least something
> they've heard of     (eg, the "in" languages like C++, Java, or anything
> "webby").
> When I started, jobs for Assembler were still commonly advertised, with PLI,
> COBOL and the new wizzy RPG up and coming. Who wanted to do a job in stuffy
> Assember ? No way.
> Now the tables are turned, PLI is the stuffy language and, right or wrong,
> Java and C++ etc are regarded as "where it's at".
> Tim.

Socially, you may be right.  But I still proudly program in both
assembler and PL/I.  These programs are efficient, robust, and bug free.
  I am constantly exposed to the "whiz kids" mired down in their
de{*filter*}s while trying desperately to discover the subtle but fatal bugs
in their C++ (and Java) programs.  While Java and C++ may be "where it's
at" I don't consider them to be progress over the tried and proven PL/I.


Mon, 30 May 2005 02:28:23 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion


Quote:
>In many respects, C is no better than assembler.

Worse. In a decent assembler you can shield a lot with the macro
facility, but the equivalent in C is sparse and idiosyncratic.

--
     Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz, SysProg and JOAT
     Atid/2, Team OS/2, Team PL/I

Any unsolicited commercial junk E-mail will be subject to legal
action.  I reserve the right to publicly post or ridicule any
abusive E-mail.

I mangled my E-mail address to foil automated spammers; reply to
domain Patriot dot net user shmuel+news to contact me.  Do not



Mon, 30 May 2005 02:32:53 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion


Quote:
> > > unable to get PL/I programmers (especially cheaper entry level ones
> > > i.e. the college kids - who these days only want to seem to write in
> > > java)
> > .
> > PL/I programmers are available.

> But not readily, or everywhere, and especially for the "right" (=low)
price.

Very much agree.  But the issue is not just PL1, try getting fortran and
assembler guys!
Yes, you can get some but they're definitely not out there by the tons!

Quote:
> > PL/I courses are being offered, and naturally, anyone who can
> > write programs in Java can adapt to writing PL/I.

> Yes, they probably CAN.......but most probably wouldn't want to.  (or
offer
> them loads of money).
> Reagrdless of what we all here think, if anyone else has heard of PLI,
they
> normally regard it as a dinosaur language, and no-one wants to be stuck
with
> that. They want to do something more "modern" .... or at least something
> they've heard of     (eg, the "in" languages like C++, Java, or anything
> "webby").

When we were interviewing a year or 2 back, the college grads from the good
schools only had
OO stuff and Web!  No procedural languages, no assembler, no OS/compiler
class.  Looking at transcripts is very depressing (it seems like learning
some of the basics is no longer a requirement!)  In a few more years the
younger side won't even know what a byte is - but atleast they'll have a
byte object which only takes up a couple hundred K of space!  Unless the
economy stays in the hopper for quite a while, I think you'll have a tough
time convincing them to get out of Java land...

Kevin



Mon, 30 May 2005 10:07:00 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion
Yah I'm back in school and the kids can tell the difference between a
numeric value and a charicter that looks like a number.

Quote:



>> > > unable to get PL/I programmers (especially cheaper entry level ones
>> > > i.e. the college kids - who these days only want to seem to write in
>> > > java)
>> > .
...

>When we were interviewing a year or 2 back, the college grads from the good
>schools only had
>OO stuff and Web!  No procedural languages, no assembler, no OS/compiler
>class.  Looking at transcripts is very depressing (it seems like learning
>some of the basics is no longer a requirement!)  In a few more years the
>younger side won't even know what a byte is >Kevin



Mon, 30 May 2005 13:29:00 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion

Quote:

> Socially, you may be right.  But I still proudly program in both
> assembler and PL/I.  These programs are efficient, robust, and bug free.

I'm with you.  I'll program in "anything".  I haven't done any C++, just
C, but I've done most other major languages.  For my money, PL/I is
still the best for most purposes.  Beware of mono-lingual programmers in
*any* language.


Mon, 30 May 2005 20:58:51 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion
A while ago I was kicking around the idea of a web-tutorial "PL/I for C
Programmers", building on Eberhard's stuff.  The idea would be to assume
a programmer knows C fairly well and write it in a "how do I do x (some
C thing) in PL/I".  I plan to do more work on it, but I have lots of
other projects, plus a real job.  If anyone's interested I hereby offer
the idea.
Quote:



> > > PL/I programmers are available.

> > But not readily, or everywhere, and especially for the "right" (=low)
> price.

> Very much agree.  But the issue is not just PL1, try getting fortran and
> assembler guys!



Mon, 30 May 2005 21:03:44 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion


Quote:

> > Socially, you may be right.  But I still proudly program in both
> > assembler and PL/I.  These programs are efficient, robust, and bug free.

> I'm with you.  I'll program in "anything".  I haven't done any C++, just
> C, but I've done most other major languages.  For my money, PL/I is
> still the best for most purposes.  Beware of mono-lingual programmers in
> *any* language.

Me too. I wasn't complaining about PLI at all - just saying how it is. I
like the language a lot. It's not perfect but pretty damn reliable and easy
to learn for the stuff I do at work.
Tim.


Mon, 30 May 2005 22:23:25 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion

Quote:

> A while ago I was kicking around the idea of a web-tutorial "PL/I for C
> Programmers", building on Eberhard's stuff.  The idea would be to assume
> a programmer knows C fairly well and write it in a "how do I do x (some
> C thing) in PL/I".  I plan to do more work on it, but I have lots of
> other projects, plus a real job.  If anyone's interested I hereby offer
> the idea.

Wow, you really do want to be a troublemaker!  You could even destroy
the "Emperor has no clothes" mystique that has been perpetuated over the
years that C is a superior language. Unless congress passes a special
whistle-blowers act to protect honest programmers you could be in for a
lot of misery.  :-)     (When can I start?)
Quote:



>>>>PL/I programmers are available.

>>>But not readily, or everywhere, and especially for the "right" (=low)

>>price.

>>Very much agree.  But the issue is not just PL1, try getting fortran and
>>assembler guys!



Tue, 31 May 2005 00:38:20 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion
Quote:

> > > unable to get PL/I programmers (especially cheaper entry level ones
> > > i.e. the college kids - who these days only want to seem to write in
> > > java)
> > .
> > PL/I programmers are available.

> But not readily, or everywhere, and especially for the "right" (=low) price.

> > PL/I courses are being offered, and naturally, anyone who can
> > write programs in Java can adapt to writing PL/I.

> Yes, they probably CAN.......but most probably wouldn't want to.  (or offer
> them loads of money).
> Reagrdless of what we all here think, if anyone else has heard of PLI, they
> normally regard it as a dinosaur language, and no-one wants to be stuck with
> that. They want to do something more "modern" .... or at least something
> they've heard of     (eg, the "in" languages like C++, Java, or anything
> "webby").

[snip]

Some of us have made a very good living over the years working
with supposedly obsolete computers and programming languages.
We've also faced the problem of trying to stuff ten pounds in
a five-pound bag (which isn't nearly as much fun).



Mon, 30 May 2005 17:53:22 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion
Quote:
> Some of us have made a very good living over the years working
> with supposedly obsolete computers and programming languages.

Me too.

Quote:
> We've also faced the problem of trying to stuff ten pounds in
> a five-pound bag (which isn't nearly as much fun).

Well, you only have to fold the ten pound note a bit tighter...  ;-)
Tim


Tue, 31 May 2005 17:23:35 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion
<snip>
: PL/I would be a better choice for this viv-a-vis C,
: as the latter does not have the functionality of PL/I.
: In particular, it does not have the robustness of
: a PL/I executable.
                                      ^^^^^^^^^^
I am puzzled -- what you really mean?
--
                              Waldek Hebisch



Thu, 02 Jun 2005 03:30:31 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion

: Date: 14 Dec 2002 19:30:31 GMT
: ><snip>
: >: PL/I would be a better choice for this viv-a-vis C,
: >: as the latter does not have the functionality of PL/I.
: >: In particular, it does not have the robustness of
: >: a PL/I executable.
:                                       ^^^^^^^^^^
: >I am puzzled -- what you really mean?

: C programs can corrupt (destroy) themselves (unprotected string moves,
: which rely on the zero terminating byte, for example).
: Format strings are also a problem.

Yes, the problems with strings are well-known. But they are more
problem of (very widespread) programmer practice -- now the standard
library have "safe" variants for all basic operations, and anyone can make
own library which is doing even more checking.

For simple strings manipulations PL/I is definitely safer. But my
impression was that for say dynamicaly allocated stings PL/I and C
offer pretty similar support -- the language gives pointers (handles)
and the rest is up to the programmer (is PL/I checking validity of
memory access via pointers?).

But coming back to the subject of this thread: I would assume that
PL/I code converted to C and compiled by the C compiler is robust if
the original program and the converter is robust. In other words, IMHO
converting PL/I to C is a valid method to make a PL/I compiler. Of course
the convertor must do what the compiler is doing: introduce checks
where needed and have necessary support library (like opertions
on counted strings...).

--
                              Waldek Hebisch



Sun, 05 Jun 2005 02:56:30 GMT  
 PL/I to C conversion
Quote:

> For simple strings manipulations PL/I is definitely safer. But my
> impression was that for say dynamicaly allocated stings PL/I and C
> offer pretty similar support -- the language gives pointers (handles)
> and the rest is up to the programmer (is PL/I checking validity of
> memory access via pointers?).

Shouldn't be.  If a string with (*) length is allocated the compiler
should build a descriptor containing the allocated length to be used for
checking.  I say "should" because Robin indicated that some versions of
Enterprise PL/I may be sloppy about this.


Sun, 05 Jun 2005 05:39:09 GMT  
 
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