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Learning to program on punchcards

I wasn't born in the era, but I'd like to experience writing a program with punch cards.
Does anyone know of a program or an online simulator, so I can relive some history?

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marked as duplicate by maple_shaft Sep 6 '12 at 15:51

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Wow... why? Write a few lines of code. Go home. At 2AM, sign into your computer and try to compile the code, because that's when you got time on the machine. The next morning, randomize each line of code, because you dropped the cards when you picked them up in the morning. Repeat. –  Brian Hoover Sep 6 '12 at 15:44
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This link may help: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/149491/… also this provides visual simulation: kloth.net/services/cardpunch.php –  Emmad Kareem Sep 6 '12 at 15:45
    
What specifically do you want to simulate? The fixed line width, editing/duplicating cards, the clatter of an 029 "interpreting" a stack of cards? –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 6 '12 at 15:55
    
@BrianHoover - That's right, dropping the cards, having the reader mangle some cards or other physical accidents are essential for "living the history". And don't forget about those infamous hanging chads! –  jfrankcarr Sep 6 '12 at 17:33
    
I suppose it would be interesting as a historical lesson for someone to write an editor that would simulate a keypunch machine. You would have to type the entire card over if you made a mistake. As a programmer that used keypunch machines to put together Fortran programs, I think it would be interesting to see. –  Gilbert Le Blanc Sep 7 '12 at 13:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Punch cards are just a storage medium. You could store a program on punch cards, but once you put them in a card reader, the processing is just like it would be, reading from tape or disk...just a lot slower. As such, there's not really anything to emulate.

In the days before CLI editors, you started your programming with pencil and paper, and once you had written your code, you walked your notes over to a card punch machine, which looked much like a typewriter, and you typed in your code. The cards come out of the punch, you load them into the computer's input hopper, and load them into memory, then execute.

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This is basically how I always thought of it as just a storage medium to load your programs into memory. This question is basically no different than asking how to simulate writing code on a USB flash drive. That would be kind of neat though if somebody wrote a visual simulation showing flash memory registers switching as you save code :) –  maple_shaft Sep 6 '12 at 15:57
    
The process of punching a card was somewhat similar to writing on a typewrite. There is very loud sound with visible mechanical movements of parts. I think there is a value of simulating the process of preparing a program using punched card at least as part of the IT history so people could appreciate the complexity involved. –  Emmad Kareem Sep 6 '12 at 16:10

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