NATURAL

Natural is a fourth-generation programming language from Software AG. It is largely used for building databases output in plain text form, for example.

* Hello World in NATURAL WRITE 'Hello World!' END

It has the ESCAPE TOP flow control instruction, which is similar to continue in C, C++, Java and several other languages, except that it also works within subroutines to both return from the routine and then continue the calling statement's processing loop.

Like continue, it avoids large amounts of indentation levels when using nested instruction blocks inside any loop.

Example with ESCAPE TOP:

DEFINE DATA LOCAL 1 I (N3) /* 3 digits without decimals END-DEFINE FOR I = 2 TO 100 IF (I / 2 * 2) = I AND I > 2 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 2' ESCAPE TOP END-IF IF (I / 3 * 3) = I AND I > 3 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 3' ESCAPE TOP END-IF IF (I / 5 * 5) = I AND I > 5 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 5' ESCAPE TOP END-IF IF (I / 7 * 7) = I AND I > 7 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 7' ESCAPE TOP END-IF IF (I / 11 * 11) = I AND I > 11 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 11' ESCAPE TOP END-IF WRITE 'Number' I 'is prime' END-FOR END

The levels of indentation can be automatically adjusted with the STRUCT command in the Natural Editor.

The same example, without ESCAPE TOP:

DEFINE DATA LOCAL 1 I (N3) /* 3 digits without decimals END-DEFINE FOR I = 2 TO 100 IF (I / 2 * 2) = I AND I > 2 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 2' ELSE IF (I / 3 * 3) = I AND I > 3 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 3' ELSE IF (I / 5 * 5) = I AND I > 5 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 5' ELSE IF (I / 7 * 7) = I AND I > 7 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 7' ELSE IF (I / 11 * 11) = I AND I > 11 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 11' ELSE WRITE 'Number' I 'is prime' END-IF END-IF END-IF END-IF END-IF END-FOR END

Another powerful flow control instruction command is the ESCAPE BOTTOM, which is similar to ESCAPE TOP except that it continues the processing from end of the calling statement's processing loop. Example with ESCAPE BOTTOM:

DEFINE DATA LOCAL 1 I (N3) /* 3 digits without decimals END-DEFINE FOR I = 2 TO 100 IF (I / 2 * 2) = I AND I > 2 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 2' ESCAPE BOTTOM END-IF IF (I / 3 * 3) = I AND I > 3 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 3' ESCAPE BOTTOM END-IF IF (I / 5 * 5) = I AND I > 5 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 5' ESCAPE BOTTOM END-IF IF (I / 7 * 7) = I AND I > 7 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 7' ESCAPE BOTTOM END-IF IF (I / 11 * 11) = I AND I > 11 WRITE 'Number' I 'is divisible by 11' ESCAPE BOTTOM END-IF WRITE 'Number' I 'is prime' END-FOR END

One trait that sets Natural apart from most other languages is its rich syntax. For example, many languages have a simple switch case statement that can be used to replace nested IF statements pertaining to a single variable; in C-like languages, it is prone to logic errors since it is necessary to BREAK out of the statement programatically. Natural has a much cleaner/richer DECIDE statement which is easier to understand and code. Here is an example:

DECIDE ON FIRST VALUE MARITAL-STATUS VALUE 'M' DESC := 'Married' VALUE 'D' DESC := 'Divorced' VALUE 'W' DESC := 'Widowed' ANY ONCE-MARRIED := TRUE NONE DESC := 'Single' END-DECIDE

Famous quotes containing the word natural:

    If we have come to think that the nursery and the kitchen are the natural sphere of a woman, we have done so exactly as English children come to think that a cage is the natural sphere of a parrot: because they have never seen one anywhere else.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

    Chinese were born ... with an accumulated wisdom, a natural sophistication, an intelligent naivete, and unless they were transplanted too young, these qualities ripened in them.... If ever I am homesick for China, now that I am home in my own country, it is when I discover here no philosophy. Our people have opinions and creeds and prejudices and ideas but as yet no philosophy.
    Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973)

    The great man knew not that he was great. It took a century or two for that fact to appear. What he did, he did because he must; it was the most natural thing in the world, and grew out of the circumstances of the moment. But now, every thing he did, even to the lifting of his finger or the eating of bread, looks large, all-related, and is called an institution.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)