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MUMPS Du Jour
When I wrote my first column for DG Review, I was unsure how frequently I could manage it, and how much there was to write about. However, here we are four months later, and somehow the material keeps coming, so it is time to christen the column. As I have no intention of restricting my attention to any one group of topics, it was difficult to find a name that was sufficiently ambiguous, but I managed. Welcome to Random Access.
The topic du jour is MUMPS, the language, another entry in my list of favorite languages. While MUMPS and other favorites like DG/L are less well known than COBOL, FORTRAN, C and others, there is no good reason for their lack of popularity. Each has unique features which allow the programmer to solve problems in new and uncommon ways, something we should always be looking for.
MUMPS, the language
MUMPS stands for Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multiple Programming System. (First, an aside: A few weeks ago, somebody asked me whether I had started teaching my seven-week-old son how to program in DG/L. My answer was simple--of course not, I'm teaching him MUMPS because we need to get the childhood diseases out of the way first.) Do not misunderstand my facetiousness, because there is nothing facetious about a language which allows a medium-sized defense consulting organization to beat out a Fortune 100 company to win a $1.01 billion contract to develop a unified medical information system for all Defense Department facilities worldwide.