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Abstraction mechanisms in CLU

By Barbara Liskov, Alan Snyder, Russell Atkinson, Craig Schaffert

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 20 No. 8, Pages 564-576

CLU is a new programming language designed to support the use of abstractions in program construction. Work in programming methodology has led to the realization that three kinds of abstractions—procedural, control, and especially data abstractions—are useful in the programming process. Of these, only the procedural abstraction is supported well by conventional languages, through the procedure or subroutine. CLU provides, in addition to procedures, novel linguistic mechanisms that support the use of data and control abstractions. This paper provides an introduction to the abstraction mechanisms in CLU. By means of programming examples, the utility of the three kinds of abstractions in program construction is illustrated, and it is shown how CLU programs may be written to use and implement abstractions. The CLU library, which permits incremental program development with complete type checking performed at compile time, is also discussed.

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