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Headed by Jules Schwartz, a team at System Development Corporation designed JOVIAL in 1959.

JOVIAL was an acronym for Jules' Own Version of the International Algorithmic Language, which was a reference to ALGOL58.

The original purpose of the language was to produce software for the electronics of military aircraft. During the 1960s, JOVIAL was part of the US military's L-Project series. Ninety-five percent of its SACCS project was written in JOVIAL. During the 1970s and 1980s, the US Air Force adopted a standardized CPU, the MIL-STD-1750A, and additional JOVIAL programs were produced for that processor.

Several commercial vendors, including Advanced Computer Techniques, Proprietary Software Systems, and TLD Systems, provided compilers, and other tools for the language. JOVIAL was standardized in 1973 and revised in 1984. It is still used to update and maintain software on older military vehicles and aircraft but, as of 2010, JOVIAL is no longer maintained and distributed by the USAF JOVIAL Program Office (JPO).

There are three dialects in use: J3, J3B-2, and J73. Software that was previously distributed by the JPO is still available through Software Engineering Associates (SEA), which continues to develop JOVIAL. Combinations of other JOVIAL processors are available from other companies, including DDC-I, which acquired parts of Advanced Computer Techniques, and still lists JOVIAL compilers and various tools for the language.

Most software produced by JOVIAL is essential to the business operation for which it was used, and maintenance of the software is becoming difficult. Due to the age of the language, conversion of JOVIAL code to other platforms is becoming increasingly common. Software Engineering Associates provides rehosting and retargeting services, while Semantic Designs converts JOVIAL code into other languages.

JOVIAL was influenced by ALGOL and SAGE. JOVIAL includes features not available in standard ALGOL, such as records, arrays of records, and inline assembly language.

Languages influenced by JOVIAL include CORAL, SPL, SYMPL, and CMS-2. A subset of JOVIAL, called TINT, was developed in the 1960s.

The focus of this category is on the JOVIAL programming language. Topics related to the language, or any of its dialects or implementations, are appropriate for this category, along with any compilers, editors, or other tools designed to facilitate JOVIAL programming. Tutorials, guides, user groups, or forums on the language may also be listed here.



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