Teen Programmers Unite  

  FORTRAN for beginners
By vladimir_l


Fortran has been around for a very long time. It is one of the first programming languages, being nearly as old as C. Fortran has a lot to boast about: ease of use, big maths function library, and, most importantly, speed. Some may say it is like Pascal, but they would be wrong. Fortran is much easier to use and is used much more widely. I recommend this language for the experienced programmer who is fairly interested in mathematics. I would not recomemnd this language to people who have had no experience with any "soft" programming language such as Basic. To program in Fortran you don't need much: a free MS-DOS based Fortran 77 compiler and an editor, such as PFE (Programmers File Editor).

Where to get Started

There are not many Fortran tutorials on the Tnternet, but as the Internet is huge, you can always find a resource. I myself dont believe in Internet tutorials. The best thing is to get a book. Fortran books are very rare in libaries, but selective ones may still have them. The only place you will for certain find a book on Fortran is in any university. If you know someone who can get a book for you from there, you are very lucky and should take the opportunity.

Remember, as Fortran has not changed for a long time, a really old book is still OK, as the code will still work.

Here are some sites with good Fortran tutorials

As I said, resources are hard to find, but here is a small collection of some I found.

I doubt you will find more resources, but if you do want to try, I suggest using Google.

Why Fortran

Some may say, I'll just learn C++ and that'll cover everything there is, every part of programming. Some may agree with that, but really that's based on the fact that most of the other languages are just skins of C. They are based on C, and so their functions cannot go outside of C. Thats where Fortran is different. Fortran has many internals and externals that are native to it.

Fortran is good for the job it does, calculations. Say you wanted to find all the primes up to 10000. You would first have to read a book. You would find various ways of finding primes, like primes of Merssenna and Ferma, but in the end you would find the easiest way to find all of the primes in the desired range would be to use Eratosperas way. From here you would set out to do create an algorithm. In C++, you would then have to do a mighty lot of confusing work. In Fortran you just type the program just as it was in the algorithm. I doubt you got what I was saying. Really, what I meant is that Fortran allows you to concentrate on the math and not the programming, while C++ doesn't.

Fortran also allows for huge programs to be built in a short periods of time, because its keywords are much easier to write, and there are usually less syntax mistakes.

Links and Compilers

Compilers and tools for Fortran are pretty hard to find. Microsoft Fortran Powerstation 5.0 is not even documented on the Microsoft website. Even despite that I have compiled a list of links and compilers for Fortran.

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