[J3] Consistency in conversion functions

Steve Lionel steve at stevelionel.com
Tue Apr 4 15:18:31 UTC 2023

On 4/4/2023 3:52 AM, Jeff Hammond via J3 wrote:
> Are there technical or non-technical reasons why we bring consistency 
> to this situation, by adding INTEGER() and COMPLEX() conversion 
> intrinsics?  I have found the need to use INT() surprising and 
> annoying often enough to have a practical motivation to solve this, 
> not just an aesthetic one.

Technical reason - FORTRAN 66 limited function names to six characters. 
Yes, we could now create aliases for these with longer names as 
"syntactic sugar", but it would not add functionality.

A COMPLEX intrinsic has been proposed before, with slightly different 
semantics from CMPLX - see 
https://j3-fortran.org/doc/year/08/08-293r1.txt  WG5 voted to not add it 
to the worklist (https://j3-fortran.org/doc/year/09/09-100.txt)

I don't recall seeing a suggestion of an INTEGER() alias for INT().

Programming languages are often full of shortened and occasionally 
cryptic spellings for things. The reason is usually historical (such as 
the case here), but there has been a general preference to keep things 
short, especially if they get used a lot.


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