#### ratfor

3 posts

For the final post in this series, let's write a real program in RATFOR and FLECS and see how they compare with the original FORTRAN. We'll be implementing the reverse-primes emirp program we did before.

## FLECS version

``````C     FLECS PROGRAM TO DISPLAY EMIRPS
C
C     *** TEST IF A NUMBER IS PRIME ***
LOGICAL FUNCTION PRIME(N)
INTEGER N
C     DEAL WITH NUMBERS <= 3
IF (N .LE. 1) GOTO 200
IF (N .EQ. 2 .OR. N .EQ. 3) GOTO 100
C     CHECK IF DIVISIBLE BY 2 OR 3
IF (MOD(N,2) .EQ. 0) GOTO 200
IF (MOD(N,3) .EQ. 0) GOTO 200
C     SEE IF DIVISIBLE BY 5, 7, ..., UP TO APPROX SQRT(N)
DO (I=5,999999,2)
IF (I*I .GT. N) GOTO 100
IF (MOD(N,I) .EQ. 0) GOTO 200
FIN
100  PRIME = .TRUE.
RETURN
200  PRIME = .FALSE.
RETURN
END
C
C     *** REVERSE AN INTEGER'S DIGITS ***
INTEGER FUNCTION REVRSE(N)
INTEGER N
INTEGER M,R
C     M IS COPY OF N FROM WHICH WE TAKE DIGITS
C     R IS REVERSED DIGITS
M = N
R = 0
C     LOOP UNTIL NO MORE DIGITS
UNTIL (M .LT. 1)
C     TAKE LAST DIGIT FROM M AND APPEND TO R
R = R * 10
R = R + MOD(M, 10)
M = M / 10
FIN
REVRSE = R
RETURN
END
C
C     *** TEST IF AN INTEGER IS AN EMIRP ***
LOGICAL FUNCTION EMIRP(N)
INTEGER N
C     EXTERNAL FUNCTIONS
INTEGER REVRSE
LOGICAL PRIME
C     R CONTAINS REVERSED DIGITS OF N
INTEGER R
R = REVRSE(N)
C     N AND R MUST BOTH BE PRIME AND NOT THE SAME VALUE
IF (N .NE. R)
IF (PRIME(N))
IF (PRIME(R))
EMIRP = .TRUE.
RETURN
FIN
FIN
FIN
EMIRP = .FALSE.
RETURN
END
C
C     *** DISPLAY AN INTEGER ***
SUBROUTINE SHOW(N)
INTEGER N
WRITE(6,50) N
50   FORMAT(I10)
RETURN
END
C
C
C     *** MAIN ENTRY POINT ***
C     I IS COUNT OF EMIRPS FOUND
C     N IS NUMBER TO TEST
C     EXTERNAL FUNCTION
LOGICAL EMIRP
INTEGER I,N
TEST-1
TEST-2
TEST-3
STOP
C
C     *** SHOW FIRST 20 EMIRPS ***
TO TEST-1
N = 0
I = 0
WHILE (I .LT. 20)
N = N + 1
IF (EMIRP(N))
CALL SHOW(N)
I = I + 1
FIN
FIN
FIN
C
C     *** SHOW EMIRPS BETWEEN 7,700 AND 8,000 ***
TO TEST-2
DO (N=7700,8000)
IF (EMIRP(N)) CALL SHOW(N)
FIN
FIN
C
C     *** SHOW 10,000TH EMIRP ***
TO TEST-3
N = 0
DO (I=1,10000)
REPEAT UNTIL (EMIRP(N)) N = N + 1
FIN
CALL SHOW(N)
FIN
C
END
``````

Apart from the `FORMAT` specification and the `PRIME` function we've eliminated all line numbers. `PRIME` could be written without line numbers but with the multiple paths out of the function that would need their own `RETURN` I think it's better this way.

The internal procedures come in handy, eliminating the need for subroutines for `TEST1-3`, though this does make `N` and `I` global which makes me a little uneasy if this was a larger program.

We use the block structure often, with `UNTIL`, `WHILE` and `REPEAT ... UNTIL`; this simplifies code, though without indentation it's a little hard to follow; the output of the preprocesor is useful here to show what it thinks the indentation should be, for example:

``````  86           TO TEST-1
87           .  N = 0
88           .  I = 0
89           .  WHILE (I .LT. 20)
90           .  .  N = N + 1
91           .  .  IF (EMIRP(N))
92           .  .  .  CALL SHOW(N)
93           .  .  .  I = I + 1
94           .  .  ...FIN
95           .  ...FIN
96           ...FIN
``````

The compiler diagnostics also helped a lot with catching errors with missing FINs.

## RATFOR

Now let's try writing the RATFOR version.

``````######################################################################
# Ratfor program to display emirps
######################################################################

######### Test if a number is prime #########
logical function prime(n)
integer n  # Number to test

# Deal with numbers <= 3
if (n < 1) goto 200
if (n == 2 | n == 3) goto 100

# Check if divisible by 2 or 3
if (mod(n,2) == 0) goto 200
if (mod(n,3) == 0) goto 200

# See if divisible by 5, 7, ..., up to approx sqrt(n)
for (i = 5; i < 1000000; i = i + 2) {
if (I*I > n) goto 100
if (mod(n,i) == 0) goto 200
}

100  prime = .true.
return
200  prime = .false.
return
end

######### Reverse an integer's digits #########
integer function revrse(n)
integer n  # Number to reverse
integer m  # Copy of n from which we take digits
integer r  # Reversed digits
m = n
r = 0
while (m >= 1) {
# Take last digit from m and append to r
r = r * 10
r = r + mod(m, 10)
m = m / 10
}
revrse = r
return
end

######### Test if an integer is an emirp #########
logical function emirp(n)
integer n       # Number to test
integer revrse  # External function
logical prime   # External function
integer r       # Reversed digits of n
r = revrse(n)
emirp = .false.
# n and r must both be prime and not the same value
if (n .ne. r & prime(n) & prime(r)) {
emirp = .true.
}
return
end

######### Display an integer #########
subroutine show(n)
integer n
write(6,50) n
50  format(i10)
return
end

######### Show first 20 emirps #########
subroutine test1
logical emirp   # External function
integer i       # Count of emirps found
integer n       # Number to test
n = 0
for (i = 1; i <= 20; i = i + 1) {
repeat {
n = n + 1
} until (emirp(n))
call show(n)
}
return
end

######### Show emirps between 7,700 and 8,000 #########
subroutine test2
logical emirp   # External function
integer n       # Number to test
for (n = 7700; n <= 8000; n = n + 1) {
if (emirp(n)) {
call show(n)
}
}
return
end

######### Show 10,000th emirp #########
subroutine test3
logical emirp   # External function
integer i       # Count of emirps found
integer n       # Number to test
n = 0
for (i = 1; i <= 10000; i = i + 1) {
repeat {
n = n + 1
} until (emirp(n))
}
call show(n)
return
end

######### Main entry point #########
call test1
call test2
call test3
stop
end
``````

I feel right at home with the braces and the C style `for` loops, though I miss the increment operator `++`. `prime` would be much better if I could just `return (.true.)` but that does not work on the version of RATFOR on MTS so we keep the line numbers and `goto`s.

With the above, plus the free form input (which was supported on MTS FORTRAN anyway) and the operators like `<` it was easy to write. However, I got precisely zero diagnostics from the RATFOR preprocessor, with all my typos caught by the FORTRAN compiler, from which I'd have to find the problem in the original source. Easy enough in a small program but would be painful in larger ones.

## Final thoughts

RATFOR and FLECS both make writing FORTRAN easier and more pleasant at the cost of an extra step in the development process, and I found both succeed at that. RATFOR is clearer and easier to get started with (especially coming from a C background today); the implementation is almost aggressively simple, as the authors admit in their paper, and I wonder how well it would scale for writing larger programs. FLECS has a more robust implementation but a more diffuse design, such as two versions of `switch`; features like printing a neatly indented output would certainly help on MTS or its contemporaries but the language lacks the cosmetic features that make RATFOR easier to read.

Neither are much used today; FORTRAN 77 and beyond took some of these ideas and built them into the core language. The idea of translating a richer language into a widely used but less expressive language is still alive though: think of Coffeescript or Typescript producing Javascript.

## Further information

Full source code for these programs can be found on github.

From the UM Computing Center Newsletter, Volume 5 Number 14, 24 September 1975, via Google Books. Proposal 2) seems to indicate a different preprocessor was being considered for UM as well as FLECS, I wonder if this was RATFOR or something else?

Hi and welcome back. Today let's continue our exploration of RATFOR and FLECS by comparing the language features they add to vanilla FORTRAN. The quotes below are from the RATFOR paper and FLECS manual, links to which are provided at the end of this post. Code samples for FORTRAN and FLECS are shown in upper case, RATFOR in lower case.

## Design

RATFOR attempts to retain the merits of FORTRAN (universality, portability, efficiency) while hiding the worst FORTRAN inadequacies. The language is FORTRAN except for two aspects - [control flow and syntactic sugar] ... Throughout, the design principle which has determined what should be in RATFOR and what should not has been RATFOR doesn’t know any FORTRAN.

RATFOR focuses on control flow - if statements, blocks, looping - and cosmetics such as free form input, comments and other features that make FORTRAN more pleasant to write. By not knowing any FORTRAN, the design limits what features can be made available but also keeps it simple to implement and reduces the temptation to change FORTRAN into a different language altogether.

FLECS is a language extension of FORTRAN which has additional control mechanisms . These mechanisms make it easier to write FORTRAN by eliminating much of the clerical detail associated with constructing FORTRAN programs. FLECS is also easier to read and comprehend than FORTRAN.

FLECS also tries ti improve FORTRAN's control statements, taking ideas from several different languages including Pascal and Lisp. It has less cosmetic additions than RATFOR but adds the concept of internal procedures and includes features in the translator that help the programmer see the structure of their program.

## Structure

RATFOR allows blocks of statements to be introduced within braces where FORTRAN would only allow a single statement. The fixed column format in classic FORTRAN is relaxed so any indentation is allowed. Multiple statements can appear on the same line if they are separated by semicolons.

``````if (x > 100) {
call error(x)
err = 1; return
}
``````

FLECS also has blocks which extend from the start of a control statement to the keyword `FIN`. It retains the fixed formatting of FORTRAN but prints a nicely indented view of the program when translating. So the example above would be entered as this in FLECS:

``````      IF (X .GT. 100)
CALL ERROR(X)
ERR = 1
FIN
``````

and the translator would print

``````IF (X .GT. 100)
.  CALL ERROR(X)
.  ERR = 1
...FIN
``````

This is useful when entering programs via cards where it is difficult to get indentation right.

It's possible to have a single statement after a control structure in which case the `FIN` is not needed:

``````IF (X .GT. 100) CALL ERROR(X)
``````

RATFOR comments are introduced with `#` and apply from that point to the end of the line, less restrictive than `C` in FORTRAN and FLECS which must be in the first column.

`%` will stop RATFOR processing the rest of the line, passing it through to FORTRAN directly. FLECS will look for a FLECS statement in column 7 and if found will translate the line; if not found it will pass through the whole line to FORTRAN.

## Textual substitution

RATFOR allows constants to be set with `define SYMBOL VALUE`; any use of `SYMBOL` in the RATFOR program will be replaced with `VALUE` in the generated FORTRAN program.

`include FILE` will insert a copy of `FILE` at that point in the program, just like C's `#include`.

## Operators

RATFOR allows the now-familiar symbols `<`, `<=`, `!=`, `|` etc to be used instead of `.LT.`, `.LE.`, `.NE.`, `.OR.` etc. FLECS retains the FORTRAN operators.

## Strings

Text in RATFOR programs in single or double quotes is converted to FORTRAN nH strings. Backslash escapes the next character. FLECS keeps FORTRAN strings.

## Conditionals

FORTRAN has a simple `iF` statement where only one statement can be executed if the condition is true. RATFOR extends this by allowing `else` and nested ifs. An else clause is attached to the nearest if.

``````if (x > 0) {
if (x > 10)
write(6, 1) x
else
write(6, 2) x
else
weite(6, 3)
``````

FLECS has `IF` and for negative tests `UNLESS`. It also has `WHEN` ... `ELSE` for a single positive and negative test.

The `switch` statement added in RATFOR looks like C but does not have `break`; the switch is exited after each `case` or `default` is executed. FLECS's equivalent is `SELECT`, so comparing the two:

``````switch (x) {
case 1: y=3
case 2, 3: y=5
default y=0
}
``````
``````      SELECT (X)
(1) Y=3
(2) Y=5
(3) Y=5
(OTHERWISE) Y=0
FIN
``````

FLECS has `CONDITIONAL` which looks a lot like LISP's `cond`:

``````      CONDITIONAL
(X.LT.-5.0)  U = U+W
(X.LE.1.0)   U = U+W+Z
(X.LE.10.5)  U = U-Z
(OTHERWISE)  U = 0
FIN
``````

## Looping

The FORTRAN `DO` loop has to have a line number marking the point where the loop will restart:

``````      DO 10 i = 1, n
x(i) = 0.0
y(i) = 0.0
z(i) = 0.0
10   CONTINUE
``````

RATFOR replaces this with a block:

``````do i = 1, n {
x(i) = 0.0
y(i) = 0.0
z(i) = 0.0
}
``````

It also allows `break` to exit a loop early and `next` to restart the loop like C's `continue`. It can be followed by an integer to say how many levels to apply, so `break 2` would move out of a two level `do` statement immediately.

RATFOR also adds a `while` and `for` statement that look like C's - these allow immediate exit from the statement if the condition is true on entry, unlike in FORTRAN `DO` where the statement is always executed at least once (in the IBM implementation at least) and the conditional is tested at the end of the statement. A version of C's `do` ... `while` is provided as `repeat` ... `until`.

The FLECS equivalent for the above `do` loop would be:

``````      DO (I = 1, N)
X(I) = 0.0
Y(I) = 0.0
Z(I) = 0.0
FIN
``````

FLEC's `WHILE` construct is similar to RATFOR's, with the conditional tested before the loop starts. By using `REPEAT WHILE` the body of the loop is executed at least once and the test made at the end of the loop. `UNTIL` can be used instead of `WHILE` in both cases to indicate that the loop ends when the conditional becomes true

``````      X = 0
UNTIL (X.EQ.5)
X = X + 1
FIN
``````

## Return

To return a value from a function in FORTRAN and FLECS you must assign a value to the name of the function:

``````INTEGER FUNCTION DECREMENT(I)
INTEGER I
DECREMENT = I - 1
RETURN
END
``````

In the RATFOR paper it sayd you can give `return` a value:

``````integer function decrement(i)
integer i
return (i-1)
end
``````

However, note this is not supported in the version supplied with MTS - it will just pass through such a `return` statement causing an error from the FORTRAN compiler.

## Internal procedures

FLECS allows a group of statements to be defined as a procedure with `TO` which can then be called by giving its name. No parameters are passed - it uses global variables to communicate. The below example will print 5.

``````      INTEGER X
X = 1
INCREMENT-IT
DOUBLE-AND-INCREMENT
WRITE(6,50) X
STOP
50   FORMAT(I10)
TO INCREMENT-IT X = X + 1
TO DOUBLE-AND-INCREMENT
X = X * 2
INCREMENT
FIN
END
``````

Procedure names must include at least one hyphen and recursion is not allowed.

## Operation

RATFOR runs as a simple translator, taking a RATFOR input file and producing a FORTRAN output file that must then be fed to the FORTRAN compiler. FLECS, as modified at UM, will both translate and call the FORTRAN compiler, producing machine code output that can be run directly.

## Error handling

RATFOR will catch some errors, such as missing closing braces, but will otherwise delegate problems with the program to the FORTRAN compiler to catch, as it does not understand FORTRAN syntax. This could be difficult to trace back to the source of the error as the FORTRAN compiler would show the error in the generated FORTRAN, not the RATFOR original.

FLECS will find syntax errors and remove them from the program, allowing translation to continue at the cost of possibly causing further errors; it will not move on to compilation in this case.

## Implementation

Not surprisingly given its authors' roots, RATFOR was originally written in around 1000 lines of C using yacc. The authors say it took less than a week to implement. As C was not widely available in the mid 70's, a version of RATFOR in RATFOR was produced that would generate around 2500 lines of basic FORTRAN so it could be used anywhere.

The FLECS implementation comes in at around 2200 lines of FLECS and took around six months to develop according to comments in the source code.

## Further information

See Kernighan's RATFOR paper or the FLECSUser's Manual (in component 673/22; I've uploaded a copy here) for more information on the languages.

Most programmers will agree that FORTRAN is an unpleasant language to program in, yet there are many occasions when they are forced to use it.

From the introduction to 'RATFOR — A Preprocessor for a Rational FORTRAN' by Brian W. Kernighan

FORTRAN was the lingua franca for mainframe programmers in the 1960s and 1970s, but as Kernighan states it's not always easy to program in - the main reasons are lack of good control structures and the fixed line format. As a result, a number of preprocessors were developed that translated enhanced code down to plain FORTRAN that could then be compiled anywhere a compiler was available.

In this series of posts, we'll look at two preprocessors available on MTS: RATFOR and FLECS. MTS also had OVERDRIVE, but this is not available on D6.0 due to copyright reasons.

## Prerequisites

No special installation instructions to get these preprocessors running - just do the standard D6.0 setup as described in this guide and then sign on as a regular user such as `ST01`.

## RATFOR

RATFOR was developed by Brian Kernighan at Bell Telephone Labs in 1974; its syntax was (not surprisingly) inspired by the C programming language, with keywords like `for`, `while` and `until`. It was used as the language for examples in Software Tools and became one of the most popular preprocessors in use. Versions are still available today that run on Unix systems.

### Preprocessing using `*RATFOR`

The version on MTS is called `*RATFOR` and takes a RATFOR program as input on `scards` and writes FORTRAN source to `spunch`. The generated file can then be compiled with `*FTN`.

### Hello world

Here's a terminal log of how to compile and run a simple hello world program in RATFOR. This assumes the source code is in file `hello.r`.

``````# \$list hello.r

1     # *** Simple hello world program ***
2     #
3     integer i
4     for (i = 0; i < 5; i = i + 1)
5     {
6        write(6, 200)
7     }
8     stop
9     200 format("Hello, world!")
10     end

# \$run *ratfor scards=hello.r spunch=-hello.f
Execution begins   21:56:08
Execution terminated   21:56:08  T=0.004

# #list -hello.f

1           INTEGERI
2           CONTINUE
3           I=0
4     23000 IF(.NOT.(I.LT.5))GOTO 23002
5           WRITE(6,200)
6     23001 I=I+1
7           GOTO 23000
8     23002 CONTINUE
9           STOP
10     200   FORMAT(13HHello, world!)
11           END

Execution begins   21:56:36
No errors in MAIN
Execution terminated   21:56:36  T=0.008

Execution begins   21:56:39
Hello, world!
Hello, world!
Hello, world!
Hello, world!
Hello, world!
Execution terminated   21:56:39  T=0.001
``````

## FLECS

FLECS was written in the early 1970s by Terry Beyer at the University of Oregon. It provides a smaller set of control structures that RATFOR but the syntax is closer to FORTRAN. Keywords include `IF...THEN...ELSE` and `CONDITIONAL` and multi-line statements are supported. It does not appear to have been used much past the introduction of FORTRAN77, but a a version is still available today for HPUX.

### Compiling using `UNSP:FLX`

At the time D6.0 was released, FLECS was unsupported at UM so is available as the file `FLX` in `UNSP:`. The preprocessor does not used `scards` and `spunch`; instead, all parameters need to be passed in to `par`. Unlike RATFOR, FLECS can call the FORTRAN compiler directly to generate object code. In the listing below, `PAR=SOURCE=hello.fl,P=*SINK*,FTNSOURCE,LOAD=-load` would read source from `hello.fl`, print diagnostics to `*SINK` including the FORTRAN source generated, and write compiled output to `-load.`

### Hello world

Here's a terminal log of how to compile and run a simple hello world program in FLECS. This assumes the source code is in file `hello.fl`.

``````# \$list hello.fl

1     C *** SIMPLE HELLO WORLD PROGRAM ***
2     C
3           DO (I = 1,5)
4           WRITE (6,20)
5           FIN
6           STOP
7        20 FORMAT(13H HELLO, WORLD)
8           END

Execution begins   21:47:21
FFI(CT206)

(FLECS VERSION 22.38)  MTS Version CT155 21:47:21    JAN 21, 1916    Page   1

MTS Line#        Indented Source Listing...

1     C *** SIMPLE HELLO WORLD PROGRAM ***
2     C
3           DO (I = 1,5)
4           .  WRITE (6,20)
5           ...FIN
6           STOP
7        20 FORMAT(13H HELLO, WORLD)
8           END

0.001 seconds CPU time used.  Translation rate is 480000 lines per CPU minute.

There were   NO MAJOR ERRORS and   NO MINOR ERRORS in the above module.
No preprocessor errors in module  1.

MICHIGAN TERMINAL SYSTEM FORTRAN G(21.8) MAIN 01-21-16 21:47:21 PAGE P001

0001              DO 99998 I = 1,5             3.000
0002              WRITE (6,20)                 4.000
0003        99998 CONTINUE                     5.000
0004              STOP                         6.000
0005           20 FORMAT(13H HELLO, WORLD)     7.000
0006              END                          8.000
*OPTIONS IN EFFECT*  NAME = MAIN    , LINECNT =       57
*STATISTICS*    SOURCE STATEMENTS =        6,PROGRAM SIZE =      344
*STATISTICS*  NO DIAGNOSTICS GENERATED
No errors in MAIN

NO STATEMENTS FLAGGED IN THE ABOVE COMPILATIONS.
Execution terminated   21:47:21  T=0.018

Execution begins   21:47:31
HELLO, WORLD
HELLO, WORLD
HELLO, WORLD
HELLO, WORLD
HELLO, WORLD
Execution terminated   21:47:31  T=0.001
``````

## Further information

The Wikipedia article on RATFOR has a basic introduction to language features and the history of its development. Kernighan's paper on RATFOR goes into more detail on the language.

Not much appears to exist on the Internet describing FLECS, but the D6.0 MTS tapes does include the complete User's Manual (in component 673/22) and the interface to MTS.

MTS Volume 6 describes the FORTRAN compilers on MTS, which are needed to compile the RATFOR preprocessor's output.