Sadly, in my team we've all been writing MUMPS for so long that the abbreviated style comes naturally and is a hard habit to break. Yes, expanded is better for new starters in the language.

However... Playing devil's advocate you could say that abbreviated commands are:

1. Faster to type (as you said).

2. More compact. Allowing the reader to "see" more of the structure in one go.

You see, you can expand things out too much, in my opinion. Also, it only takes a few minutes for a (reasonable) programmer to get that "S" means "set", "I" means "if", etc. Commands always appear in the same part of the code (unlike some languages), there are not that many to learn, and once you know them, you can read them! So why bother with extra letters? After all "set" is itself only a token for "put the value on the right of the = into the variable on the left" or something like that. It could be "make" or "update" or "<-" (look up the programming language "APL" on Wikipedia if you want a real scare).

I think the main problem with "old fashioned" code is usually poor label/variable names, squeezing too much on one line, and lack of indenting. It's hard to read mainly because of the other parts of the code, not because the commands are single characters. Some things should be longer to better convey what they are for (though not as long as COBOL), and more lines can help convey program structure.

While I'm here, I'm not that keen on spurious spaces in "set x = 1", as opposed to "set x=1". It just spreads out the important stuff  - spaces are there to split out the commands.  :-) 


An alternative solution that works for us is to use the "Schedule" setting to run it for 30m (to allow some leeway as the job takes a while), and then set the "Call Interval" setting to something very large like "999999". This is for an Inbound SQL adaptor. (If something goes wrong with this overnight run then we manually remove the "Schedule" setting and restart the Service. Once complete, we put back the setting ready for the next night.)