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Ratfor, short for Rational Fortran, is a preprocessor that allows programming in an extended version of Fortran. It was developed by Brian Kernighan at Bell Laboratories in the late 1970s to make it easier to write programs in a style similar to C but retain the power and numerical computing capabilities of Fortran. This made it more accessible for new programmers transitioning from other languages into the scientific and engineering communities where Fortran was prevalent. Ratfor's structure includes many features found in structured programming languages such as if-else constructs, do-while loops, and complex expressions with parentheses that are not present or are limited in standard Fortran syntax. Once preprocessed into standard Fortran code, Ratfor programs can be compiled by any compatible compiler without modification. Although less commonly used today due to more modern programming language options available across all scales of computing systems, Ratfor still holds historical significance as an early example of a tool designed to bridge the gap between two different language paradigms.

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