Evolution of Programming Languages

In the modern world, information technology has become an important assistant in the daily life of a person. When we need to find some information, we already habitually take out a smartphone or sit down at a computer and clarify this information via the Internet using search engines and other services. Check the evolution of computer programming in the article below.

Evolution of Programming Languages

Programming languages and where are they used

The growth of the production of computer equipment, the development of information networks, and the creation of new information technologies lead to significant changes in all spheres of society: production, science, education, medicine, etc. Humanity learned to use the simplest devices for counting thousands of years ago.

The need to determine the number of items used in barter turned out to be the most necessary. One of the simplest solutions was the use of the weight equivalent of the exchanged items, which did not require an accurate calculation of the number of its components. For these purposes, the simplest balancing scales were used, which thus became one of the first devices for the quantitative determination of mass.

A special system by which data is organized in a program is a system of programming language types; the development and study of type systems is known as type theory. Languages can be classified as systems with static typing and languages with dynamic typing. The constructions of different programming languages, which are similar in content, differ mainly in the way they are written. That is, they have similar content (semantics), but a different sequence of components (syntax) and different keywords (vocabulary).

A short history of coding

Coding, or computer programming, has become an essential part of modern society. It has revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate. However, coding is not a recent invention. Its history dates back to the early 19th century when Ada Lovelace, a mathematician, and writer, wrote the first algorithm intended for use on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

But it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that coding as we know it today began to take shape. In the late 1940s, John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert created the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the first electronic computer. ENIAC was programmed using a combination of switches, dials, and cables, which was a tedious and time-consuming process.

In the early 1950s, Grace Hopper, a computer scientist, created the first compiler, which allowed programmers to write code in a high-level language that was then translated into machine language. This development made programming easier and more efficient, laying the groundwork for modern programming languages.

In the following decades, a multitude of programming languages were developed, including FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, and C. These languages paved the way for the development of software applications and the personal computer revolution.

The 1990s saw the rise of the World Wide Web, which brought about a new era of coding. HTML, JavaScript, and CSS became the languages of the web, allowing for the creation of interactive and dynamic websites.

Today, coding is ubiquitous. From mobile apps to video games to artificial intelligence, coding is an essential component of modern technology.

Main generations of programming languages

The result of programming is not abstract, but a very real existing product (application), and this undoubtedly brings programming closer to engineering. During the creation of a software product, in addition to the main goal – the implementation of the algorithm, it is often necessary to optimize the efficiency of its work. Mathematics, engineering and programming go hand in hand today. The evolution of programming languages led to the fact that the concept of an algorithmic language was replaced by the concept of a programming language, which further dissolved in the implementation environment (broadcast environment, execution system, set of standard libraries).

Since the creation of the first programmable machines, thousands of programming languages have been invented, and every year, their number is replenished with new ones. Some languages can be used only by a small number of their creators, and others become known to millions of people. In the development of programming languages, experts note five generations, which gradually improve their characteristics and become more and more accessible to the user. Here is evolution of programming languages summary.

  • The languages of the first generation include machine-dependent languages.
  • The second generation is characterized by the creation of assembly-type programming languages.
  • The third generation begins with the appearance of the first high-level language for solving engineering, technical, and scientific tasks.
  • The languages of the fourth generation are parallel programming languages, which, unlike all previously created tools, are primarily focused on the creation of system and application software for computing environments of non-traditional parallel architecture.
  • Natural programming languages currently being developed will be the fifth generation and will allow a non-professional user to define the necessary procedures for processing information using language suggestions that are very close to natural and do not require special syntax.

Who invented programming language?

The concept of programming languages has been around for centuries, with early examples of “languages” used for programming appearing in the 1800s. However, the modern programming languages we use today have their roots in the mid-20th century.

The first high-level programming language, FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator), was developed in 1954 by a team of IBM researchers led by John Backus. This groundbreaking language allowed programmers to use symbolic representations of mathematical equations, making it easier to write and read code. FORTRAN became incredibly popular in the scientific and engineering communities and was widely adopted in the 1950s and 1960s.

Following the success of FORTRAN, other high-level programming languages emerged in the following years. In 1958, John McCarthy developed LISP (LISt Processing), which became one of the first languages to support recursive functions and has been used in a variety of applications, including artificial intelligence.

COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language) was also introduced in 1958, designed for use in business and administrative applications. It became the most widely used programming language in the world at the time.

In the 1970s, C was developed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs, becoming one of the most widely used programming languages in history, and still used today. It was followed by other popular languages such as C++, Java, Python, and many others.

While many individuals and teams have contributed to the development of programming languages over the years, it’s fair to say that John Backus and his team’s development of FORTRAN marked a major turning point in the history of programming languages.