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Department of Computer Science, University of Waterloo

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

With such a large selection of programming languages, it can be difficult to choose one for a particular project. Reading the manuals to evaluate the languages is a time-consuming process. On the other hand, most people already have a fairly good idea of how various automobiles compare. So in order to assist those trying to choose a language, we have prepared a chart that matches programming languages with comparable automobiles:

Assembler - A Formula I race car. Very fast, but difficult to drive and expensive to maintain.

FORTRAN II - A Model T Ford. Once it was king of the road.

FORTRAN IV - A Model A Ford.

FORTRAN 77 - A six-cylinder Ford Fairlane with standard transmission and no seat belts.

COBOL - A delivery van. It's bulky and ugly, but it does the work.

BASIC - A second-hand Rambler with a rebuilt engine and patched upholstery. Your dad bought it for you to learn to drive. You'll ditch the car as soon as you can afford a new one.

PL/I - A Cadillac convertible with automatic transmission, a two-tone paint job, white-wall tires, chrome exhaust pipes, and fuzzy dice hanging in the windshield.

C - A black Firebird, the all-macho car. Comes with optional seat belts (lint) and optional fuzz buster (escape to assembler).

ALGOL 60 - An Austin Mini. Boy, that's a small car.

Pascal - A Volkswagen Beetle. It's small but sturdy. Was once popular with intellectuals.

Modula II - A Volkswagen Rabbit with a trailer hitch.

ALGOL 68 - An Austin Martin. An impressive car, but not just anyone can drive it.

LISP - An electric car. It's simple but slow. Seat belts are not available.

PROLOG/LUCID - Prototype concept-cars.

Maple/MACSYMA - All-terrain vehicles.

FORTH - A go-cart.

LOGO - A kiddie's replica of a Rolls Royce. Comes with a real engine and a working horn.

APL - A double decked bus. Its takes rows and columns of passengers to the same place all at the same time. But, it drives only in reverse gear, and is instrumented in Greek.

Ada - An army-green Mercedes Benz staff car. Power steering, power brakes and automatic transmission are all standard. No other colors or options are available. If it's good enough for the generals, it's good enough for you. Manufacturing delays due to difficulties reading the design specification are starting to clear up.