The Evolution of Programming Languages
The term “programming languages” evokes thoughts of C, C++, Java, SQL, and other computer languages with complicated syntaxes and endless lines of code.
But this isn’t where programming languages started out. That particular origin story begins a lot earlier.
In the 1940s, the first electronic computers came into existence. But there was a problem. Early level assembly languages were horribly complicated. Programming with them was like trying to carve “David” with a toothpick.
There had to be a better way.
A breakthrough came with the invention of FORTRAN by computer giant, IBM. The fact that it wasn’t just limited to being a test subject but was actually functional, made it revolutionary and incredibly popular. Another thing that made FORTRAN so revolutionary was that it was great for high-performance computing. A lot of the world’s modern supercomputers still use it, and there are benchmark programs made out of FORTRAN that push these behemoths to see how far they can go.
But FORTRAN still had a problem. It was mostly useful for scientific and numeric computing. Also, it wasn’t as intuitive as people needed it to be. In addition to all of this, it was limited in what it could do.
And that’s where COBOL came in to pick up the slack.