Computer Awareness
The Basics of Different Programming Languages
Shikha Adya
April 21, 2020

When it comes to Programming Language, more than 500 different languages out there. With each passing year, the requirement changes with the advancement. Every year, a new and better version of the language is introduced to satisfy the present needs.

Shortcode: In 1949, a few years after Von Neumann's work, the language 'shortcode' appeared. Shortcode was the first computer language for electronic devices and it required the programmer to change its statements into 0's and 1's by hand. Still, it was the first step towards the complex languages of today. In 1951, Grace Hopper wrote the first compiler, A-0. A compiler is a statement into 0's and 1's for the computer to understand. This lead to faster programming, as the programmer no longer had to do the work by hand. 

FORTRAN: In1957, the first of the major languages appeared in the form of FORTRAN. Its name stands for the "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 would be considered restrictive as it only included IF, DO, and GOTO statements, but at the time, these commands were a big step forward. The basic types of data in use today got their start in FORTRAN, these included logical variables, (TURE or FALSE) and integer, real and double-precision numbers. 

* 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. It also, allowed for these to be grouped into arrays and records, so that data could be tracked and organized better. It is interesting to note that a COBOL program is built in a way similar to an essay, with four or five major sections that build into an elegant whole. COBOL statements also have very English-like grammar, making it quite easy to learn. all of these features were designed to learn and adopt it.  

* LISP: In 1958, John McCarthy of MIT created the listed processing (or LISP) language. It was designed for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. Because it was designed for such a highly specialized field, its syntax has rarely been seen before or since. The most obvious difference between this language and other languages is that the basic and only type of data is the list, denoted by a sequence of items enclosed by parentheses. LISP remains in use today because of its highly specialized and abstract nature. 

*ALGOL: The ALGOL language was created by a committee for scientific use in 1958. Its 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. Pascal was designed in a very orderly approach. It combined many of the best features of the languages in use at the time, COBOL, FORTRAN and ALGOL. While doing so, many of the irregularities and oddball statements of these languages were cleaned up, which helped it gain users. The combination of features, input/output, and solid mathematical features, made it a highly successful language. Pascal also improved the 'pointer' data type, a very powerful feature of any language that implements it. 

C language: C was developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie while working at Bell Labs in New Jersey. The transition in usage from the first major languages to the major languages of today occurred with the transition between Pascal and C. Its direct ancestors are B and BCPL, but its similarities to Pascal are quite obvious. Ritchie developed C for the new Unix system being created at the same time. Because of this, C and Unix go hand in hand Unix gives C such advanced features as dynamic variables, multitasking interrupt handling, forking, and strong, low-level, input-output. Because of this, C is very commonly used to program operating systems such a Unix, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. 

C++: It the late 1970s and early 1980s a new programing method was being developed. It was known as object-oriented programming or OOP Objects are pieces of data that can be packaged and manipulated by the programmer. Bjarne Stroustrup liked this method the developed extensions to C known as 'C with classes'. This set of extensions developed into the full-featured language C++, which was released in 1983. 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 its focus to the web, which was becoming 'the cool 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 that would be written in Java, none of which came into use. Though Java has very lofty goals and is a text-book example of good language, it may be the "language that wasn't". It has serious optimization problems, meaning that programs written in it run very slowly. 

*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. Microsoft has extended BASIC in its Visual Basic (VB) product. The heart of VB is the form or blank window on which you drag and drop components such as menĂºs, pictures and slider bars. These items are known as 'widgets'. Widgets have properties (such as its color) and events (such as clicks and double-clicks) and are central to building any user interface today in any language. VB is most often used today to create quick and simple interfaces to other Microsoft products such as Excel and Access without needing a lot of code, though it is possible to create full applications with it. 

*PERL: Perl has often been described as the 'duct tape of the internet' because it is most often used as the engine for a web interface or in the script that modifies configuration files. It has very strong text matching functions which make it ideal for these tasks. Perl was developed by larry wall in 1987 because the UNIX sed and awk tools (used for text manipulation) were no longer stronger enough to support his needs. Perl stands for Practical Extraction and Reporting Language.