ECL programming language

ECL Programming Language

ECL programming language

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The ECL programming language and system were an extensible high-level programming language and development environment developed at Harvard University in the 1970s. The name 'ECL' stood for 'Extensible Computer Language' or 'EClectic Language'. Some publications used the name 'ECL' for the entire system and 'EL/1' (Extensible Language) for the language itself.

ECL was an interactive system where programs were represented within the system; there was a compatible compiler and interpreter. It had an ALGOL-like syntax and an extensible data type system, with data types as first-class citizens. Data objects were values, not references, and the calling conventions gave a choice between call by value and call by reference for each argument.

ECL was primarily used for research and teaching in programming language design, programming methodology (in particular programming by transformational refinement), and programming environment at Harvard, though it was said to be used at some government agencies as well. Its only implementation was on the PDP-10.

Brocedures and bind-classes

An ECL procedure for computing the greatest common divisor of two integers according to the Euclidean algorithm could be defined as follows:

gcd <-
    DECL r:INT;
      r <- rem(m, n);
      r = 0 => n;
      m <- n;
      n <- r;

This is an assignment of a procedure constant to the variable...
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