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SNOBOL is a computer programming language especially meant for string manipulation. It evolved from SNOBOL 1[1] developed at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1962. SNOBOL is a tool in such areas as natural language translation, linguistics, text analysis and so on.

The basic data element of SNOBOL is a string of characters. The language has operations for joining and separating strings, for testing their contents and for making replacements in them. The most important operation on a string is the search for a pattern. A pattern can be a simple string or a given number of characters, but it can also be an extremely complicated expression consisting, for example, of a number of alternatives followed by another set of alternatives. The pattern may appear as literal or as variable.


  1. D. J. Farber, R. E. Griswold, and I.P. Polonsky, SNOBOL, a string manipulation language, J. Association for Comp. Machinery, vol. 11, pp. 21-30 (1964)