What is Programming Language? What are some important Programming Languages?

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Created On: May 21, 2015 15:36 IST

Programming Language is a machine language (sometimes called machine code). Originally all programmers worked out every detail of the machine code, but this is hardly ever done anymore.


FORTRAN: In 1957, the first of the major languages appeared in the form of FORTRAN. Its name stands for ‘FORmula TRANslation’ system. The language was designed at IBM for scientific computing. The components were very simple and provided the programmer with low level access to the computer’s innards. Today, this language is considered restrictive as it only includes IF, DO and GOTO statements.

COBOL: Its name stands for ‘Common Business Oriented Language’. It was designed from the ground up as the language for businessmen. Its only data types were numbers and strings of text.

LISP: In 1958, John McCarthy of MIT created the LIST Processing (or LISP) language. It was designed for Artificial Intelligence (A I) research.

ALGOL: The ALGOL language was created by a committee for scientific use in 1958. It’s major contribution is being the root of the tree that has led to such languages as Pascal, C, C++ and Java. It was also the first language with a formal grammar.

Pascal: Pascal was begun in 1968 by Niklaus Wirth. Its development was mainly out of necessity for a good teaching tool.

C: C was developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie while working at Bell Labs in New Jersey. The transitionin usage from the first major languages to the major languages of today occurred with the transitionbetween Pascal and C.

C+ +

C+ + was designed to organize the raw power of C using OOP, but maintain the speed of C and be able to run on many different types of computers. C++ is most often used in simulations, such as games. It is the language of choice in today’s Computer Science courses.

Java In the early 1990’s, interactive TV was the technology of the future. Sun Microsystems decided that interactive TV needed a special, portable (can run on many types of machines) language. This language eventually became Java. In 1994, the Java project team changed their focus to the web, which was becoming ‘the coal thing’ after interactive TV failed. The next year, Netscape licensed Java for use in their Internet browser, Navigator. At this point, Java became the language of the future and several companies announced applications which would be written in Java, none of which came into use.

Visual Basic Visual Basic is often taught as a first programming language today as it is based on the BASIC language developed in 1964 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz. BASIC is a very limited scope language and was designed for non-computer science people.

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