The Icon Programming Language

Click below to go directly to a specific section:
History | Significant Language Features | Areas of Application | Sample Programs
Related Links | Printed References | Acknowledgements


Icon is a derivation of SNOBOL, a language originally designed by Bell Telephone Laboratories in the early 60s to promote development of string and structure intensive applications. Further implementations of Icon have been produced by
The University of Arizona . The name Icon was chosen before the term "icon" became popular for GUI images in use today and does not stand for anything correlating to the language (apparently it is just a catchy name). The Latest Implementations of Icon and the Icon program library are 9.1 and 9.2, respectively. Version 9.3 of Icon and the next version of the Icon Library is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 1996. Platforms supported include UNIX, MS-DOS, MS-DOS 32-bit, VAX/VMS, Macintosh/MPW, and Acorn Archimedes, while versions for Microsoft Windows and NT are in beta testing. Icon can be implemented as an interpreted or compiled language. Interpreting Icon is useful for small programs, or when debugging. Compiling Icon will first translate to C code, which must then be recompiled as C.

Significant Language Features

Icon is a high-level, imperative, procedural language especially useful for processing strings and structures.

Areas of Application

Sample Programs

Related Links

Printed References

  1. Griswold, Ralph E., Clinton L. Jeffery, Gregg M. Townsend, and Kenneth Walker. Version 9.0 of the Icon Programming Language, IPD236, Department of Computer Science, The University of Arizona. 1994.
  2. Griswold, Ralph E. and Madge T. Griswold. The Icon Programming Language, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. 1990, ISBN 0-13-447889-4.
  3. G. M. Townsend, R. E. Griswold and C. L. Jeffery, Graphics Facilities for the Icon Programming Language; Version 9.1, The Univ. of Arizona Icon Project Document IPD268, 1995.


Special thanks to the University of Arizona's Department of Computer Science and the excellent Icon Page they have assembled.
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Last modified: 10:00 AM on 11/24/1996
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