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String Oriented Symbolic Language

<language> (SNOBOL) A string processing language for text and formula manipulation written by David Farber, Ralph Griswold, and I. Polonsky of Bell Labs in 1962-3.

SNOBOL had only simple control structures but provided a rich string-matching formalism of power comparable to regular expressions but implementated differently. People used it for simple natural language processing analysis tasks well into the 1980s. Since then, Perl has come into favour for such tasks.

SNOBOL was originally called "SEXI" - String EXpression Interpreter. In spite of the suggestive name, SNOBOL is not related to COBOL.

Implementations include (in no particular order): SNOBOL2, SNOBOL3, SNOBOL4, FASBOL, SITBOL, MAINBOL, SPITBOL and vanilla.

See also EZ, Poplar, SIL and Icon.

["SNOBOL, A String Manipulating Language", R. Griswold et al, J ACM 11(1):21, Jan 1964].

[When and why was SEXI renamed?]

(1998-03-03)


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