A Brief Overview of Programming Languages (click to read about each language)

Ada Basic C C++ Cobol Delphi Forth Fortran
Java Lisp M Modula-2 Pascal Prolog Turing Visual Basic

 

 Ada  
  This language was named after Lady Ada Augusta lovelace who is often credited as being the world's first programmer. ADA, the language, is derived from Pascal and is used by the Department of Defense in the U.S. for its software projects. It was created by Jean ichbiah and a team at honeywell in 1979.

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 BASIC  
  This Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code was developed by John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz. As professors at Dartmouth College, they wanted a programming language that was designed to enable non-science students to learn programming concepts. To that end they involved their students in the process of creating a simple programming language. On May 1st, 1964 they tested the first two BASIC programs on a GE-225, a mainframe from General Electric.

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C 
  The evolution of C from a programming language called B is often reported in programming texts. One detail that is seldom mentioned is that B was not a widely publicized or widely use language. The story of how and why Dennis Ritchie created C becomes clearer with a little background.
  Dennis Ritchie joined Bell Labs at AT&T in 1967 and worked on a number of projects including multics then with Ken thompson on a new operating system called UNIX. They originally wrote UNIX in assembly language for the PDP-7 computer. Once the two men had most of the ground work done, they came to the conclusion that a high-level language was needed to develop UNIX fully. It was Thompson who set about the task and came up with B, a language much influenced by BCPL. Thompson's taste for "spartan syntax" and the limited space available for the compiler also shaped the definition of B.
"Early in the development of Unix, I added data types and new syntax to Thompson's B language, thus producing the new language C. " writes Dennis Ritchie
What is BCPL?

The Basic Cambridge Programming Language (BCPL) is a simplified version of a language (CPL) developed at Cambridge in the early 1960s. Sources vary about the abbreviation CPL; some claiming the C stands for Cambridge and others for Combined.
Martin Richards ported the simplified version of CPL to an IBM 370 and called it BCPL. It wasn't long after that this version of CPL was carried across the Atlantic.

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C++
C++ is an object-oriented programming language (OOPL) that was created by Bjarne Stroustrup at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a superset of C.  It has become one of the most used object-oriented languages in part because it combines object-oriented concepts with traditional C programming syntax.

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Cobol
COBOL Developed in the 1960s. Widely used for mini and mainframe programming. Also available for personal computers.

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Delphi 
A Rapid Application Development (RAD) system developed by Borland International, Inc. Delphi is similar to Visual Basic from Microsoft, but whereas Visual Basic is based on the BASIC programming language, Delphi is based on Pascal. 

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FORTH
 Developed in the 1960s, FORTH is used in process control and game applications.

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FORTRAN
FORmula TRANslator.  Developed in 1954 by IBM, it was the first major scientific programming language. Some commercial applications have been developed in FORTRAN, and it continues to be widely used.  The first and still the most widely used programming language for numerical and scientific applications. The original versions lacked recursive procedures and block structure and had a line-oriented syntax in which certain columns had special significance. The release of the Fortran 77 standard updated the language to reflect the many developments in programming language philosophy up to 1977.

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Java
A high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally called OAK, and was designed for handheld devices and set-top boxes. Oak was unsuccessful so in 1995 Sun changed the name to Java and modified the language to take advantage of the burgeoning World Wide Web.

Java is an object-oriented language similar to C++, but simplified to eliminate language features that cause common programming errors. Java source code files (files with a .java extension) are compiled into a format called bytecode (files with a .class extension), which can then be executed by a Java interpreter. Compiled Java code can run on most computers because Java interpreters and runtime environments, known as Java Virtual Machines (VMs), exist for most operating systems, including UNIX, the Macintosh OS, and Windows. Bytecode can also be converted directly into machine language instructions by a just-in-time compiler (JIT). Java is a general purpose programming language with a number of features that make the language well suited for use on the World Wide Web. Small Java applications are called Java applets and can be downloaded from a Web server and run on your computer by a Java-compatible Web browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

JavaBeans
A specification developed by Sun Microsystems that defines how Java objects interact. An object that conforms to this specification is called a JavaBean, and is similar to an ActiveX control. It can be used by any application that understands the JavaBeans format. The principal difference between ActiveX controls and JavaBeans are that ActiveX controls can be developed in any programming language but executed only on a Windows platform, whereas JavaBeans can be developed only in Java, but can run on any platform.

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LISP  
 Developed in 1960. Used for AI applications. Its syntax is very different than other languages. 

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M

MUMPS Short for Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multiprogramming System, a general-purpose programming language developed in the late 1960s. MUMPS is similar to other procedural languages developed in this period, such as BASIC, FORTRAN, and C. A MUMPS standard was approved by ANSI in 1977.

Although MUMPS has never achieved the popularity level of other languages such as C and BASIC, there is still an active community of MUMPS developers. Since about 1993, there has been a growing trend to change the name from MUMPS to M or M-Technology.

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Modula-2
Enhanced version of Pascal introduced in 1979.

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Pascal
Pascal was originally developed as a teaching language in the late 1960s. Niklaus Wirth named the language after Blaise Pascal, a seventeenth-century French mathematician who constructed one of the first mechanical adding machines.

Pascal is best known for its affinity to structured programming techniques. The nature of the language forces programmers to design programs methodically and carefully. Despite its success in academia, Pascal has had only modest success in the business world. Part of the resistance to Pascal by professional programmers stems from its inflexibility and lack of tools for developing large applications.

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Prolog
Developed in France in 1973. Used throughout Europe and Japan for AI applications.

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Turing
R.C. Holt and J.R. Cordy developed a new "state-of-the-art programming language with portable compiler and interpreter" as part of the Turing Project at the University of Toronto from 1982 to 1991.

In 1991 the project evolved into the OOT (Object-Oriented Turing) Project that focused on expanding the original Turing programming language to include object-oriented programming concepts. The project was commercialized in the late 1990s and is now distributed by Holt Software.

Turing was designed as an educational programming language. FOLDOC describes Turing as "an airtight super-Pascal. Used mainly for teaching programming at both high school and university level"

The language was named after Alan Turing, a British mathematician who lived from 1912 to 1954. Alan Turing's contribution to mathematics and the early development of electronic computers has earned him a place in most histories of Computer Science.

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Visual Basic
A Version of BASIC for Windows programming from Microsoft that is very popular. 

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Web Languages
Languages such as JavaScript, Jscript, Perl, PHP and CGI are used to automate Web pages as well as link them to other applications running in servers.

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