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Storage of Character Strings in Non-character Items

Before the advent of the character data type it was possible to store text in arithmetic variables and arrays, although only very limited manipulation was possible. The number of characters which could be stored in each item was entirely system-dependent. One side-effect is that many systems still allow the A format descriptor to match input/output items of arithmetic types; this sometimes allows mismatches between data-transfer lists and format descriptors to pass undetected.

Helen Rowlands