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:

    Compassion has no place in the natural order of the world which operates on the basis of necessity. Compassion opposes this order and is therefore best thought of as being in some way supernatural.
    John Berger (b. 1926)

    The unreal is natural, so natural that it makes of unreality the most natural of anything natural. That is what America does, and that is what America is.
    Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

    The open frontier, the hardships of homesteading from scratch, the wealth of natural resources, the whole vast challenge of a continent waiting to be exploited, combined to produce a prevailing materialism and an American drive bent as much, if not more, on money, property, and power than was true of the Old World from which we had fled.
    Barbara Tuchman (1912–1989)