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Programming Language Evolution December 17, 2017

Posted by tareiter in Programming Languages.

Programming languages certainly have gone through an incredible evolution process since their early inception.  It is something that I suppose I was aware of, but never really took the time to specifically think about.  After going through this class and being introduced to some of these earlier languages and moving forward through time, it truly is remarkable to see how things have progressed.  This is an area that started from almost nothing, and grew into something that is deeply ingrained into our world today.

We started things out by looking into a few of the earliest programming languages.  These included FORTRAN, COBOL, and LISP.  It was interesting to note that these early languages were often created by groups of people working together to accomplish certain goals.  The people in these groups included more than just developers, and also included people involved in various parts of the business process.  Those people were a valuable part of the team because these early languages were usually designed for special purposes and the completion of specific tasks.  It was at this time period where hardware limitations were most apparent, and the teams were presented with significant obstacles to overcome.

After looking at these earlier languages, we then moved on to General-Purpose programming languages.  As the name implies, these were more geared towards general usage rather than performing specific kinds of tasks.  In this section we looked at ALGOL, C, and PL/1.  ALGOL was another language that was created by a committee, but differed in that the group consisted only of computer scientists.  This language was created to write algorithms, and it strongly influenced future languages.  C is one of the most used programming languages of all time, and is still used today in some areas.  Finally, we looked at PL/1.  This was intended to be used for creating apps in the IBM mainframe.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this language is that it contained not reserved keywords at all, which is very unusual.

The class finished out on looking at research languages, and object-oriented languages.  I thought it was interesting to note that with the research centered ones, they sort of went back to being designed for more specific uses.  Object-oriented languages were the only ones that I had any real familiarity with before this, so I found it fascinated to go along this journey and see how things got to where they got today.

At the end of all this I gained a lot of valuable insight at how programming languages have evolved since their beginning.  This is something that I will remember going forward, and appreciate as I journey further into my career.



1. com2017pc - December 28, 2017

What insight about the correlation between languages as it relates to teams (and the dynamics people bring into the world of program language) as well as the limited capacity early computers had, I thought the same and its a significant point to make.

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