“The next exact sample of BANCStar code used to be from a producing design”


A ticket from the curator…

Joe Loughry, the novel creator of this net page, lately contacted me about this net page with some updates. Whenever you happen to by hook or by crook received here by chance, the BANCStar story is a reasonably crooked one. Joe despatched me this net page for the novel Tarpit and I posted it; alternatively, the publishers of this scheme, a company called Broadway and Seymour, took wide exception to the existence of this net page and its less-than-complimentary attitude in direction of its product and sic’ed a licensed skilled on me. Being a mere college student at the time, and having loads less of a spine than I attain now, I backed down and removed the hyperlink (nonetheless didn’t delete the net page).

As I said, I’ve grown a spine since then.

I won’t form the mistake again of backing down over a free speech roar; or no longer it is the one hot button in my political mindset. So with out further ado, here is Joe Loughry’s BANCStar description, total alongside with his 2000 exchange…


I judge the realm is ready to be introduced to BANCStar.

The next exact sample of BANCStar source code used to be taken from a
manufacturing design. I’m no longer too alarmed about revealing rather a few proprietary
data here, as most efficient about ten folks in the realm can study this


I judge we had one thing take care of 1,350 data of this code, most data a
few hundred traces lengthy, though some have been over 1,000 traces. The design ran
the retail branch operations of a valuable industrial bank in the early 1990s.

Attention-grabbing aspects of BANCStar integrated:

  • The best likely ideal characters in a BANCStar program are the digits 0 thru
    9, comma, minus signal, and carriage return. Clean traces are no longer allowed. If
    a “.” looks anywhere in the file, the compiler will atomize.
  • Comments are strictly prohibited.
  • Regulate structures on hand embody the 3000
    (“conditional”), 3001 (“block conditional”), and 3101
    (“reverse block conditional”), as successfully as 8500 (“GOTO”)
    and 8550 (“aggregate GOTO”).
  • There is a onerous limit of 2000 variables + constants in the
    total design. The leisure to be displayed on show conceal conceal or printed on a impress must
    be outlined as a relentless, thereby taking on part of this precious home.
    In consequence, most calculations are finished with a block of twenty or so “working
    storage” variables, which would possibly per chance be constantly reused. The entirety in the
    design is global.
    Original projects always started off with the
    programmer making an are attempting for a handful of working storage numbers that will per chance well per chance also
    be “borrowed” lengthy ample to total the calculation, then restored to
    their customary values earlier than the rightful proprietor noticed that they have been
  • Labels staunch thru the code are absolute, so any time a brand new net page used to be added or
    removed, all downstream GOTOs wish to be learned and retargeted.

Joe Loughry
electronic mail [email protected]
This net page used to be final updated on April 30, 1997.

Joe despatched me the following exchange on July 31, 2000. It says a little more about BANCStar and the corporate that created it.

Just a few more little print I have in mind:

BANCStar if truth be told came with a “show conceal conceal generator” that used to be supposed
to be dilapidated to make capabilities. Nonetheless the 5.1c model of the
generator used to be so restricted that experienced programmers rapidly started
to pry off the covers and regulate straight the intermediate code that
the flee-time module if truth be told completed.

As soon as I arrived in Seattle in early 1990, I joined a crew of seven
programmers who by now robotically wrote straight in BancSTAR machine
language, entirely ignoring the show conceal conceal generator. The important thing time
they confirmed me the language, I thought it used to be a joke. Nonetheless inner a
few weeks I was discovering out and writing the code, with the support of every
BancSTAR programmer’s accepted instruments: a dot-matrix printer, plenty and
hundreds diversified coloration highlighters, and a 3-ring binder called
the Suggested File, stuffed with printouts of the dozens of tables in
the design, and religiously updated anytime anybody modified anything else
of significance. (I wasn’t kidding about reusing storage; in the event you
wanted a relentless integer 1000, and you would possibly per chance well also get a scheme the set up
someone else had as soon as dilapidated that same cost, you linked your code to
his and hoped it never modified.)

We developed some in-home instruments for programming neat capabilities
in BancSTAR, and at one level tried to hobby Broadway & Seymour
in them, nonetheless I judge they never if truth be told believed us, that we have been
writing straight to their inner, low-level, undocumented machine

Joe Loughry

[email protected]

I hold to give most efficient a few comments myself. The Tarpit looks basically dedicated to joke languages (though as I write I’m mulling over a are expecting of to add an APL reference to the positioning). To folks that write programming languages for vertical markets, let the above nastiness be a lesson to you: safety thru obscurity is atrocious juju.


31 July 2000

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