History of development of programming languages ​​

History of development of programming languages ​​

Languages ​​have come a long way. From the days when assembly language and machine code were the only means of interacting with computers (which were not yet portable) to the era when Swift and other modern programming languages ​​provide developers with high-level abstractions and powerful tools.

The history of languages ​​is a chronicle of the search for optimal ways of expressing logic and solving problems.

Machine code and Assembler

At first, only machine code was available to people. It looked accordingly – a combinatorial set in the binary numbering system. PCs also only understand machine code, but modern languages ​​have their own compilers and interpreters that translate abstract (human) code into machine language in their own way.

At the dawn of time, programming was closely related to the hardware characteristics of computers, and programs were written in assembly language, interacting directly with the hardware. Assembler is already a choice in the direction of ease of programming and speed (although questionable from a modern point of view), a direct consequence of ordinary machine code.

Although assembler is far from the most common language today, it is used in cases where clear control over a hardware device is required. For example, in order to save computing power. In any case, assembly language is one of the most complex languages.

There are even memes about him.

This was not enough for convenient programming. There was a strong need for a language “for the people”. More precisely, for science specialists who would be able to actively conduct research.

The first high-level languages ​​”for the people”

After the invention of transistors and the first affordable computers, IBM developed Fotran (alternative to Algol Cobol and others). Programmers were given the opportunity to abstract from low-level details and focus on developing coded and structured code. It was the first so-called high-level language. By the way, very commercially successful.

There was already a need for specialists, there was a need for a rapid increase in the skills of programmers in the computer industry.

Programming became truly popular with the appearance of the BASIC language in 1964. Dartmouth College professors John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz developed it to teach students the basics of programming.

One of the most important characteristics of Basic is its wide availability. Many home computers, such as the Commodore 64, Apple II, and IBM PC, provided built-in Basic environments. This allowed ordinary people to start programming right away without installing or configuring additional tools.

The same ABC, which we talked about in a little more detail in our other material, created in the late 1970s at the Center for Mathematics and Informatics in Amsterdam, was exactly trying to replace the outdated Basic. ABC also aimed to simplify programming and emphasized code readability. It included some innovative ideas, such as automatic memory allocation and the use of strict typing.

Developed at Xerox PARC in the late 1960s, Smalltalk pioneered object-oriented programming (OOP), bringing a new approach to the world of programming. Everything in Smalltalk is represented as objects.

But the period of such languages ​​changed rapidly in the 70s. At the time when already well-known modern languages ​​began to appear: C++, C, Pascal.

Until now (70s – our time)

The appearance of the first language of the C family is directly C itself. The programming language was developed at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie in 1972. It was created in the context of Unix operating system development and quickly gained popularity due to its simplicity, efficiency, and low-level programming capabilities.

The C language gave programmers direct access to the computer’s hardware resources, making it particularly useful for system programming. In addition, its portability allowed the code to be used on different platforms, making it a key tool for developing operating systems and applications.

Do not forget about the next C++ with its famous OOP.

On the other hand comes Pascal, created by Niklaus Wirth in 1970 with the aim of providing a language that would facilitate the learning of programming and the development of reliable and structured programs. Pascal introduced many innovations, such as the block structure of the program, strict typing, the use of procedures and functions.

It was designed to encourage good programming practices and was widely used in educational institutions to teach the basics of algorithms and data structures. Pascal also influenced the development of other programming languages, including Ada and Delphi.

Scheme, as a dialect of the Lisp programming language, is distinguished by its simplicity and purity of design. Developed at MIT in 1975, Scheme is a minimalist language that focuses on functional programming and lambda calculus. Its features include dynamic typing, locking, and garbage collection.

By the way, about collecting garbage. Our favorite Python also appears. But read about its history in another article.

Eventually, there are also markup languages ​​like HTML, web development like JavaScript, and the popular Java, which provides independence from the machine where the program is running. By the way, that’s why Java is top-1 in mobile development.

In fact, an interesting situation is happening in the 2020s. We are waiting for the creation of full-fledged quantum computers, which will need their assemblers. There have already appeared extremely high-level languages ​​for processing huge arrays of data such as R and Matlab. And in 20 languages ​​you can find a very young Swift from Apple. However, all this is already in other materials…

The past decades have brought with them a wave of innovation in the world of programming languages. The assembly code was literally about the deepest level of programming and working with iron. Basic, unfinished ABC – “folk” languages ​​that helped to learn to write code. And, of course, Smalltalk is the first language built around OVP. Or “C”, created in 1972 – a “bridge” between low-level and high-level languages ​​that provides efficiency and flexibility.

From functional languages ​​such as Lisp to object-oriented languages ​​such as Java and C++, this is the history of programming languages. Each stage in the development provided programmers with new tools for solving complex tasks.

Today there are many languages ​​and all of them serve better for certain projects. Therefore, the choice of language depends more often on personal preferences, and how much on the need to create a specific product.

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