A Brief History Of Programming Languages: Part I

A Brief History of Programming Languages: Part I

Coding has long since stopped being something only “geeks” and movie hackers did and has matured into a respected profession that has its own history. And while being versed in this history isn’t a prerequisite for attending a full stack programmer course in San Diego and becoming a full stack developer, it’s still something every aspiring coder should know.

In this article, we’ll take a break from contemporary topics such as front-end vs back-end comparisons and how to become a coder in just a few months. We’ll go back to where it all began. And if you think this history only stretches back a few decades and is therefore not much of a history at all: well, you’re in for a surprise.

Read on to learn more.

What was the first programming language?

It’s generally accepted that Ada Lovelace’s “Algorithm for the Analytical Engine” is the first computer language ever created. Its purpose was to help Charles Baggage calculate Bernoulli numbers and Ada designed it in 1883. Yes, you read that right.

What was the first widely used programming language?

Assembly Language appeared in 1949 and soon saw wide use in Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculators. The Assembly was a low-level computer language that simplified the language of machine code ie. the specific instructions necessary to operate a computer.

What was the first compiled coding language?

Early computer languages came in many variants, all of which were covered under a generic term: Autocode. Autocode appeared in 1952 and, as the first compiled programming language, it could be translated directly into machine code through a program called a compiler.

What old computer languages are still in use today?

Created in 1957 by John Backus, Fortran (short for Formula Translation) is possibly the oldest programming language that’s still in use today. It’s designed to do complex statistical, mathematical, and scientific work.

Other crucial languages from this period include:

  • Algol (1958), which stands for Algorithmic Language, was designed by a committee for scientific use and provided the beginning point for the development of Java, C, C++, and Pascal.
  • COBOL (1959), ie. Common Business Oriented Language, was made by Grace Murray Hooper as a language that could run on all types and brands of computers. Today, it’s used in credit card processing, ATMs, government and hospital computers, telephone systems, traffic signals, and automotive systems.
  • LISP (1959) was first created to help with AI research, but can be used to this day in situations where Python or Ruby are used.

What early languages were used at Microsoft and Apple?

BASIC, designed in 1964, was modified by Paul Allen and Bill Gates and soon became the very first product ever made by Microsoft. Apple developers, on the other hand, used Pascal (1970) during their early years due to how powerful and easy to learn it was.

In addition to that, the 1970s saw the development of numerous important languages:

  • Smalltalk (1972), which enabled coders to make changes to code on the fly, and introduced things that are now present in vital languages such as Java, Ruby, and Python.
  • C (1972) was the very first high-level language. C made it possible for Unix to be used on a broad variety of different computers. Its influence can be seen in many popular coding languages today.
  • SQL (1972) revolutionized databases and made it possible to add, view, or remove data using queries.
  • MATLAB (1978) remains one of the top coding languages for writing mathematical programs. It’s primarily used in research, mathematics, and education.

Where can I attend a top-notch full stack programmer course in San Diego?

Located in East Village, Learn Academy is the top coding academy in San Diego. We’re especially famous for our intensive four-month bootcamp which not only teaches you everything you need to kick off a coding career, but also gives you a one-month internship at a reputable company.

Enlist in one of our bootcamps today, or reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about what we do. We can’t wait to meet you.

Back To Top