1990: Programming languages

In 1990, I drew thirteen cartoons for the computing industry press. They were never published, so here they are from the Beholder archive. They have no particular artistic merit, but they’re mildly interesting from a nostalgically geeky point of view.

7. prolog

I learnt and wrote prolog as part of my Computer Science. Even then I had my doubts about it though, because the best examples of prolog applications anyone seemed able to come up with were programs for determining if an animal was a leopard. But back then, in the 1980s, we all had great hopes for Artificial Intelligence too. Expert systems seem not to have manifested themselves as extensively as their advocates may have hoped, possibly because we’ve all learnt to search for keywords instead. Maybe the online helpbots (“Hello! I’m Jane! Can I help you today?”) really are coded in prolog, I don’t know; honestly it’s a language that dropped off my radar as soon as the exam was over. Haven’t missed it.

I named these verbose cartoons “the Need To Know Guide to Programming Languages”. Note that this was nothing to do with Danny O’Brien & Dave Green’s Need to Know (NTK) newsletter, which did not come along for another seven years (and to which I enthusiastically subscribed).

You’re free to use the illustration for anything provided you attribute Beholder as the source (a CC BY 4.0 license).

See more vintage Beholder nostalgia.