FACT (computer language)
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|Designed by||Computer Sciences Corporation, Honeywell|
FACT is an early discontinued computer programming language, created by the Datamatic Division of Minneapolis Honeywell for its model 800 series business computers in 1959. FACT was an acronym for "Fully Automated Compiling Technique". It was an influence on the design of the COBOL programming language.
The software was actually designed by Computer Sciences Corporation (Fletcher Jones, Roy Nutt, and Robert L. Patrick) under contract to Richard Clippinger of Honeywell.
Contributions to COBOL
FACT was an influence in the design of COBOL, and is one of three predecessor languages credited in all COBOL manuals.
Several elements of FACT were incorporated into COBOL:
- Defining data as levels, with group items and elementary items.
- Assigning of initial values to data as it is being defined (
- Specifying a limited list of literal values allowed in a specific field (
88level data items).
- A non-procedural report generator based on specifying the appearance of the desired report (Report Section in COBOL-66).
- Qualification of data-names (
- Group move of like-named items (
- Validity checks on procedural statements (
It is unclear if a working version of FACT was ever released by Honeywell. The language was designed, and a detailed specification released (see references), but it said that "Computer Sciences Corporation also has the contract to implement FACT", which implies they were still working on an implementation at the time. About that time, the short range committee began developing COBOL, and Roy Nutt, 1 of the 3 principals of CSC, began working with that committee on COBOL. It's not clear if he ever came back to implement FACT, or if Honeywell concentrated their programming effort on a COBOL compiler.
The following code samples from the simple payroll application in the FACT specification show the fixed-form nature of FACT and its similarities with COBOL.
O 1 RU DETAIL-FILE, (DETAIL),(D) O 2 DATE O 3 MONTH O 4 DAY O 5 YEAR O 6 *EMPLOYEE-RECORD O 7 EMPLOYEE-NO, (EMPLOYNO) O 8 *NEW-EMPLOYEE,(NW) O 9 NAME O 10 RATE O 11 EXEMPTIONS,(EXEMPT) O 12 BOND-DEDUCT,(BONDEDUCT) O 13 BOND-DENOMINATION,(BONDENOM) O 30 I INTERNAL-FILE1 O 31 WORKING-DATA O 32 11 D BATCH-SUM O 33 11 D BATCH-NUMBER O 34 11 D BATCH-COUNT O O 35 11 D 1 SUM-OF-HOURS O 36 11 D CARDS-IN-BATCH O
P 85 BOND PROCEDURE. WRITE BONDORDER AND SUBTRACT 1 FROM NUM. P 86 P 87 NOTE. PHASE I OF SAMPLE PROGRAM. THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES ARE USED TO P 88 MAKE BATCH CHECKS DURING THE CARD READING PASS. P 89 P 90 SUMMATION PROCEDURE. ADD RP HOURS TO SUM-OF-HOURS. ADD 1 TO CARDS-IN- P 91 -BATCH. P 92 P 93 BATCH-CHECK PROCEDURE. IF BATCH-SUM IS NOT EQUAL TO SUM-OF-HOURS OR BATCH- P 94 -COUNT IS NOT EQUAL TO CARDS-IN-BATCH SEE BAD-BATCH. SET SUM-OF-HOURS P 95 AND CARDS-IN-BATCH TO ZERO. P 96 P 97 BAD-BATCH PROCEDURE. REVERSE NEW-MASTER. CLOSE PAGE OF ERROR-REPORT. P 98 P 99 L. PUT ZEROS INTO PRINTLINE. SET NUM TO 8. P 100 P 101 BUILD. PUT EMPLOYNO AND RP HOURS INTO (NUM)TH EN AND EH. SUB- P 102 TRACT 1 FROM CARDS-IN-BATCH AND NUM. IF CARDS-IN-BATCH IS ZERO WRITE P 103 ERROR-REPORT, REVERSE NEW-MASTER, LEAVE PROCEDURE. GET NEXT GROUP. P 104 IF NUM IS ZERO WRITE ERROR-REPORT AND GO TO L, OTHERWISE RETURN TO P 105 BUILD. END OF PROCEDURE.
R 1 40ERROR-REPORT A 2 PAGE-HEADING HDEJ 2 F 3 BATCH-NUMBER 24BATCH NO. ^ F 4 PAGE-NUMBER 1 43IN ERROR PAGE ^ A 5 COLUMN-HEADINGS HD 3 F 6 30EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO.HOURS^ F 7 60EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO.HOURS^ F 8 90EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO.HOURS^ F 9 120EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO.HOURS^ A 10 ERROR-LINE OO 1 F 11 1ST EN 8 ^ F 12 1ST RH 14 .^ F 13 2ND EN 23 ^ F 14 2ND RH 29 .^ F 15 3RD EN 38 ^ F 16 3RD RH 44 .^ R 101 4OBONDORDER A 102 BOND-HEADING HDEJ 2 F 103 BPAGE 1 A 104 BONDORDER-LINE OO 1 F 105 M EMPLOYNO F 106 M NAME
L 1 PAGE-HEADING BATCH NO. ^ IN ERROR PAGE ^ L 2 COLUMN-HEADING EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS EMP.NO. HOURS L 3 ERROR-LINE ^ .^ ^ .^ ^ .^ ^ .^ ^ .^ ^ .^ ^ .^ ^ .^ L 4 BOND-HEADING BOND ORDERS EMP. NO. NAME DATE BOND PAGE ^ L 5 BONDORDER-LINE ^ ^ ^- ^- ^ . ^ L 6 DEL-HEADING TERMINATIONS EMP. NO. DATE NAME BOND CR. TOTALS.. GROSS TAX FICA INSUR RET PAGE ^ L 7 DELETIONS-LINE ^ ^- ^- ^ ^ . ^ . ^ . ^ . ^ . ^ . ^ L 8 ERROR-HEADING ERRORS... EMP. NO. DATE TYPE PAGE ^ L 9 ERROR-LINE ^ ^- ^- ^ ^ L 10 TITLE-LINE PLACE CHECK FORM IN PRINTER L 12 1PAYLINE ^ ^/ ^/ ^ .^ ^/ ^/ ^ L 13 2PAYLINE . ^ . ^ . ^ .^ . ^ L 14 3PAYLINE ^ $****. ^ . ^ . ^
- PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES: History and Fundamentals, Sammet 1969, pp. 316–324.
- Computer Sciences Corporation (1960). FACT A New Business Language (PDF) (Technical report). Honeywell. Retrieved 19 January 2014.