Anyone know Language H?

Or heard of it at least? I’m pretty frustrated (see next paragraphs) but thought some of you will enjoy discovering that Language H exists. I learned about it from a Bryan Cantrill talk on YouTube, and thought it was funny how OBEY is a keyword:

On any wiki, as soon as I begin to encounter deletionism, I leave and go somewhere else until I find someplace where what I’m posting sticks, because I am 100% an inclusionist. This is one article that has survived before I left Wikipedia because I got sick of having to defend the “notability” of what I’m writing. I want to surround myself with other inclusionists who understand that if you don’t find an article useful, just don’t click on it - don’t be a jerk by deleting it. It’s not like we are saving that same page title for something else more notable!

The Visual6502 wiki is pretty niche but idk if anyone can recommend a more general retro computing wiki to put stuff like this on? With people who, when I create a stub page, understand that I intend to go back to it and improve it instead of freaking out about how you can’t live in a house with only one brick laid. Yeah, if you demolish the house while I’m trying to build it, of course I’m going to go somewhere else safe where I can finish it in peace.

So, there’s Language H. Pretty goofy. If you do know anything about Language H and are comfortable with Wikipedia please do add to that article - do whatever it takes to preserve computing history.

Haven’t heard of Language H, thanks!

I wholeheartedly applaud your rant. I have had my own notability fights, or forceful suggestions to combine articles with something else which makes it very obvious the suggester obviously has no idea of the field.

In the end I gave up contributing.

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I never heard of that either. Very interesting.
There’s many info on the links from wikipedia, especially link 4 (pages 18 ff) maybe just add some examples.

The book (link 2) is also partially on Google Books with some nice photos.

Searching on Google with NCR and Elliott 803 there are some general info like this (page 4)

It’s hard to find something of the 60s called “H” on the web. Obviously short lived and not that successful. Hence the questionable notability (for wiki, not me).

There are also some emulators. Here is one with an ALGOL based H-code (by Dr. Hogg) what is obviously another language. Also interesting. Samples there, looking like this

<30  352:00    0
73  2000:40 2070

Another emulator is here

Elliott 803 Simulation - Operation Guide

New to me! Thanks for posting.

There’s a two-part article spread over two issues of Resurrection - only one is presently linked. Issue 81 (p12), Issue 82 (p16) as PDFs, or as web pages here and here.

This looks quite painful: in effect, names might be invalid if they share the first four letters with a keyword.

Internally an operand label is represented by a six character string, comprising the first four letters of its first word, followed by the first letter of its second word (if any), followed by the first letter of its third word (if any). Thus the label ACCOUNT is an invalid operand label since it clashes with the reserved word ACCORDING.

And keywords can be up to three words long!

This looks like an interesting improvement in usability though:

A significant difference is that Language H does not have a direct equivalent of the COBOL Data Division to describe the structure of input data, output data and working storage, but instead derives this information from how data is used in program commands.

Support for reading sterling literals:

Formats (4-6) [above] provide analogous input of sterling prices in pounds, shillings and pence. (5) assumes (a) pounds digits followed by two shillings digits and two pence digits. (6) permits a more flexible version of (5) in which a space is used to separate pounds shillings and pence (with at most (a) pounds digits).

(Lots of interesting readings in past issues of Resurrection!)

H is new to me, as well. Also, I do understand your issues with Wikipedia. (The Talk section is always worth looking, as it often exposes some of the controverses and hints at missing content.)

As for “serious” communities and repositories on the history of computer languages, the Sowftware Preservation Group by the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View/CA comes to mind. But this was mostly a thing of the 2000s and seems to be mostly abandoned now. (But there is an update on POP-2 from 2023!) Anyways, it my be still worth a visit.

If the last update was in 2023 and they’re becoming less frequent then I think they may be just getting to the point where they’ve preserved just about everything they have from that time period and are going into maintenance mode.

Like with Language H, it’s a lot of work to write a compiler and there were only so many of them in the 60s.

I’m the main contributor to the web site. The last complete new language I added was SETL, and before that Prolog. But from time to time I update the existing languages, especially LISP, which has so many dialects.

So far, Pop-2 is just a placeholder. (I ran across some programs written in Pop-2 while talking to Alan Bundy at Edinburgh about his PRESS and other systems written in Prolog.)



I don’t think too many wikipedia articles that have survived this long get deleted, so I think we should be ok over there. But good, placeholders are ok! I’d trust you more than randos who can mess with it.