What Does FORTRAN 77 Mean?

FORTRAN77 is a version of the general-purpose imperative programming language FORTRAN. It is the successor of FORTRAN 66 and was proposed in 1977. FORTRAN77 addressed many key shortcomings of FORTRAN66 and added significant features to the programming language.


Techopedia Explains FORTRAN 77

FORTRAN was one of the first high-level programming languages. One of the salient features of FORTRAN applications is that they are portable across machine platforms. FORTRAN77 programs can run on any machine which has a FORTRAN77 compiler. Unlike other programming languages, FORTRAN77 has a strict set of rules regarding source code formatting. In other words, it is not a free-format programming language. FORTRAN77 ignores blank spaces. Even if all blanks were removed in a FORTRAN77 program, it would still be considered syntactically correct. When it comes to variable declarations, FORTRAN77 makes use of an implicit set of rules to declare a type. However, the language cannot share various program units, meaning global variables are not used in FORTRAN77.

FORTRAN77 is one of the simplest programming languages and is very easy to learn. It is one of the best programming languages for mathematical computing or operations with high availability in efficient FORTRAN77 libraries. In fact, FORTRAN77 is considered one of the best options for time-critical loops or arrays.

However, there are few drawbacks associated with FORTRAN77. It is a very primitive programming language when it comes to lists, text processing or for other complex data structures. The basic variable types available in FORTRAN77 are primitive in nature. FORTRAN77 has no concept of dynamic memory allocation. FORTRAN77 codes are mostly hard to extend or reuse in higher versions of FORTRAN like FORTRAN90 or FORTRAN95.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…