Programming Language for Business

PL/B is a modern business-oriented language, used throughout
the world, that is simple to learn but capable of performing complex
applications such as editors, data encryption programs and even PL/B compilers.

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Portions of the following paragraphs concerning the origin and spirit of PL/B are drawn from the two publications. Additional information can be found on the WEB at X3J15 - PL/B Programming Language.


  1. ANSI Standard X3.238-1994, Rationale for Programming Language PL/B ©1994 American National Standards Institute, New York, New York
  2. The DATABUS Programming Language, by Dan Felder and Don Wills ©1992 Software Science Press


Infopro decided early in its life to standardize application development and tool development in the PL/B language. Our staff was completely conversant with other ANSI Standard languages (e.g. COBOL, C, FORTRAN, Dartmouth BASIC) but found that none were able to provide as high a level of vendor independence, portability, and productivity as PL/B for programming business applications. COBOL was portable primarily within batch environments. FORTRAN and C did not have the necessary portable file structures and interactive support which PL/B does so well.

Remember CINCOM's TOTAL database, Oracle's SQL*Calc, Software AG's NATURAL, Ashton Tate's DBASE? Database systems and proprietary languages gain and lose favor as do corporate marketing budgets and fads. But ANSI languages persevere. Why? Because they provide portability and stability from many vendors. ANSI standards are developed and controlled through public deliberative processes. If Microsoft decides that a near future release of its recently acquired Foxpro product will be the last (see speculation in February 19, 1996 issue of Information Week), users will be forced to change languages (Microsoft hopes to Visual Basic). No vendor can unilaterally decide the fate or set the direction of an ANSI standard language.

Having competition in the marketplace for compilers of the PL/B language brings additional benefits. Costs are competitive. A number of compiler companies do not charge for run-time licenses. Some compiler companies compile directly to object code, while other vendors compile to portable interpreted pseudo-code. Most of the PL/B vendors now distinguish themselves by cost, speed, portability, interactive debugging tools, and extensions to the language (such as the new crop of GUI interface statements). The best of the language extensions will be considered for inclusion in future revisions to the PL/B ANSI Standard.

Infopro, Inc.
2920 Norwalk Court
Aurora, IL 60502-1310
630-978-9231 (phone)
734-638-6139 (fax)

Last revised 02/28/06
Copyright © 2006

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