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Update on Fortran Standardization
Prepared for the BCS Fortran Specialist Group AGM, May 2000
WG5 meeting June 1999
The main decision taken, reluctantly, was to extend the schedule for the revision of the main Fortran language by two years. It is now envisaged that the first working draft of Fortran 200x will not be available to WG5 until June 2001 and that, after working its way through the various ISO processes, the revised standard will not be published until December 2004. This is because the task of working both on interpretations for Fortran 95 and on development of the revised standard is overburdening the diminishing resources available to the development body, J3. The stage-by-stage schedule is appended below and is in document WG5-N1343 in the WG5 electronic archive, ftp://ftp.nag.co.uk/sc22wg5/
The other main decision taken was to make some minor amendments to the specification of Fortran 200x, principally to improve object orientation facilities. All the various Fortran standardization projects were progressed (see below).
There was an indication from the US delegation that at this year's meeting they might propose that any future development of the Fortran standard, beyond the current revision, should be based solely on then-existing vendor extensions and not, as now, on requirements originating from ISO member bodies.
At the end of the meeting Miles Ellis announced his retirement as convenor. He had hoped to remain until publication of the revised standard, but pressures of other work combined with the change in schedule meant that he was unable to continue. He was warmly thanked for his work for WG5 and for standards more generally. John Reid, another member of the Fortran Specialist Group, has kindly agreed to serve as convenor and this appointment was formally confirmed by SC22, the parent committee of WG5, at its meeting in September 1999.
Future WG5 meetings
The next WG5 meeting will be held in Oulu, Finland on August 14-18, 2000. So far five people from the UK plus the convenor have indicated that they plan to attend. Anyone interested in going should contact the undersigned. Regrettably, no supporting funds are available - everyone has to find his or her own travel and living expenses.
Last year WG5 agreed to synchronize WG5 and J3 meetings by holding WG5 meetings during the years 2000-2002 in August. The August 2001 meeting will be held in the UK, probably in Oxford. No decision has yet been made about the location of further meetings; typically the participating countries host meetings in turn.
Progress on Fortran Standardization Projects
ISO/IEC 1539-1:1997 Fortran - Part 1: Base language
A year ago tables were shown at the FSG AGM showing progress item by item on the 'mandatory requirements' and 'minor technical enhancements' for Fortran 200x. Most items were marked 'complete'. Since then the specification of Fortran 200x was amended to remove the constructors part of constructors/destructors, to add generalization of structure constructors, to add an implicit root type, from which all extensible types are extended, to add dynamic type allocation, and to add a WITH-like construct.
Development of individual items, other than certain aspects of standardizing interoperability with C, is now essentially complete. The committee is now concentrating on resolving interpretations of Fortran 95, since it is important not to carry forward any ambiguities, and on integrating the whole document.
ISO/IEC 1539-2:1994 Fortran - Part 2: Varying length character strings
A revision to take advantage of the new features in Fortran 95, relative to Fortran 90, has passed its final ballot and will be published shortly.
ISO/IEC 1539-3:1999 Fortran - Part 3: Conditional compilation
This is now a formal, optional, standard. There are currently no plans to revise it or develop it.
ISO/IEC TR 15580:1998 Fortran - Floating-point exception handling
There is a final ballot on the revised technical report, with deadline April 26. At the previous ballot there was one minor suggested change, which was accepted, so it is anticipated that the revised report will be published later this year.
ISO/IEC TR 15581:1998 Fortran - Enhanced data type facilities
Similarly there is a final ballot on this revision with deadline April 26. At the previous ballot the only comment was to correct an obvious editorial error so again it is anticipated that the revised report will be published later this year.
References to WG5 documents are given with a view to aiding development of standards and on the understanding that these are working documents and must not be used for commercial purposes.
Details of current Fortran standardization activities can be found in WG5's own World Wide Web pages.
Comments on this or any other of the Group's pages should be sent by email to the FSG Web Editor.
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