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Evolution of Programming Languages December 17, 2017

Posted by kenyonm1208 in Programming Languages.
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This semester we’ve reviewed multiple programming languages of various backgrounds, as a fairly inexperienced programmer these weekly reviews provided me with invaluable knowledge on the origins of some of our most prominent computer programming languages. Through our time together I have come to realize that these languages were created in variety of different methods, but the common thread between these languages is there conception out of necessity.

It was during the late 1950s that programs languages like Fortran, Lisp, and Cobol set the precedent for languages of the future.  These three programs helped alter the state of computing from theoretical to practical due to their increased capabilities; whether it was Fortran with the first implementation of a formally defined syntax that described the rules and semantics, or Cobol which played a significant role in steering the primary use of computers at the time toward business applications, and of course we cant forget Lisp which popularized features like conditionals, tree data structures, and automatic storage management.

The previously mentioned programs were all designed with specific goals and industries in mind; with Fortran it was scientific computing, cobol was oriented towards business computing, and Lisp’s target audience was symbolic computing; as time passed we saw a shift from programming languages that were industry and hardware centric to general purpose programming languages. Moving away from a period where hardware specifications determined language quality and features.

Lastly we covered what most consider the most significant era of programming languages, Object oriented. Today object oriented programs have become the norm and almost all new programming languages implement object oriented concepts. A few of the languages that contributed to this period include C, Algol, and PL1; together these programs are none for their move toward portability, enterprise classes, efficient storage management  and of course abstraction . Today it is beyond evident that these programs had a lasting impact on the evolution of computer programming languages and future languages to come.

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