Would you be kind enough to comment as to why you still use Fortran in present day and age? I'll be especially interested in reading responses from those of you who a) program on Microsoft Windows OS (Windows XP/7/8, Windows Server 2003/2008, etc.) and b) are in a non-academic environment - industry (IT, engineering, manufacturing, etc.), research/technological institutions, national/international labs and agencies, and so on.
Chances are that almost any programming we all do can also be written in a host of other computer languages. And on Windows OS, one may be able to do so in very rich integrated development environments (IDEs) with a lot of user-friendly features such as Intellisense to further enhance productivity and ease-of-use. One only needs to look at Microsoft Visual Studio with native (C/C++) and managed memory (C++, C#, Visual Basic, F#, etc.) options with extensive libraries and packaged solutions like MFC classes, .NET framework, etc. Not to forget solutions for Microsoft Excel (isn't it the largest number-crunching/simulation environment, at least in terms of number of people!) in the form of VBA and Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO). And there are so many other offerings from so many vendors other than Microsoft.
So why continue to use Fortran?
It is easy to understand why Fortran will be preferred by those involved in truly high-performance computing (HPC), say on Cray supercomputers at a national lab such as Sandia. Co-arrays and other parallel processing features in Modern Fortran may prove highly valuable in HPC. But I assume this is only a small fraction of the user base? What about the rest of us?
At the organization where I work, I've to coordinate a "round-table" discussion soon with some high-level folks on the role of Fortran in our computing environment. Hence my interest in understanding why Fortran continues to get used in the face of so many other choices.
It'll be great if you can try to compose your comments in the form of "I program in Fortran because .." and simply state your reasons. This may help you steer you away from indulging in criticism of one or any of the other options. Note I'm NOT trying to create a "Fortran vs ..." battle. And it will be good to move beyond stock responses based on perceived advantages of Fortran in numerical calculations and array processing on ordinary computers: many experts have discussed this extensively - not to forget modern editions of "Numerical Recipes in .." by Press et al. where they have moved beyond Fortran.
Note I use Fortran extensively, especially for scientific programming. And I'm quite excited about modern Fortran. Hence please do not view this as a "dig" on Fortran in any way. I am simply trying to collect useful "talking points" for the discussion in my organization. I'll post my own rationale later on when the responses start slowing down. I would like to read your views first.
Thank you in advance. Sincerely,