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The design of a portable programming language

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We consider the design of a strongly-typed language with userdefined types in which it is arranged that, given that a type is available, it is immaterial to the user whether it is a user-defined type or one of the “primitive types” with representations selected by the implementer. This scheme provides unprecedented freedom in choosing the primitive types; by making these machine-dependent we can ensure production of programs that are easily and efficiently portable between computers of different architectures. A general discussion of the implementer's responsibilities in choosing primitive types appropriate to his machine is illustrated by considering implementation choices for translation of the language into BCPL. Finally we discuss the contribution of the language to the solution of the portability problem.

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Wallis, P.J.L. The design of a portable programming language. Acta Informatica 10, 157–167 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289153

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