Early Programming Books

Paul Birkel pbirkel at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 03:43:43 CDT 2021

Google document translate gives a modestly useful result after OCRing the UT
original scan (www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/MCReps/CR1957-009.PDF).  Needs
significant further work for readability :-<.

Deeker, et al. appear to approach the topic from the perspective of
mathematics (that is, modestly abstractly) after introducing the standard
von Neumann 5-part model of a machine.  They keep that general description,
mapping mathematical expressions to general operations within that model.

1. General Introduction to Automatic Calculators
2, The word
3. The number
4, The Command
5. Block diagrams
6. Subroutines I
7, An elaborate~ example
8. Subroutines II
9. Subroutines III
10. Speed
11. Scaling, Control and Flexibility
12. The Administrative Subroutine I
13. The Administrative Subroutine II
14. Super programs

McCracken approaches the topic with the same von Neumann model of a machine
but then proceeds from the perspective of a hypothetical "typical"
instruction set and a modestly specific architecture (e.g. signed ten-digit

AFAICS neither envisions representations for characters/text and the
processing thereof.

Both in 1957.  Something in the air :->?

-----Original Message-----
From: cctech [mailto:cctech-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Paul Koning
via cctech
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2021 5:06 PM
To: Norman Jaffe; General Discussion: On-Topic Posts
Subject: Re: Early Programming Books

> On Jun 20, 2021, at 1:19 PM, Norman Jaffe via cctech
<cctech at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> Basically, pre-1960, there couldn't be a 'general book on programming',
since every system was a unique environment - the only languages that could
even be remotely considered to be common were ALGOL 60 and FORTRAN II... and
they were 'extended' by every manufacturer to provide, at least, some form
of I/O beyond line printers and punch card readers / punches or to support
different character sets. 

True, unless you were to set out to write a general course on programming
that doesn't dig down to the level of any particular assembly language or
machine architecture.  From a quick look, I think the 1957 course by Dekker,
Dijkstra, and van Wijngaarden I mentioned in my previous note does just
that.  And that explains the title, "Programming automatic calculating
machines" (as opposed to the more common "Programming the xyzzy-42


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