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A reader of this blog wrote "It would be great to find out the reasons why programming languages are designed the way they are."

The first computer languages were the assemblers. When I started programming in 1979, I learnt to read IBM360 machine code as well as write RPG, Cobol and CICS. Assembly languages are easier to use than writing directly in machine code. RPG stands for Report Program Generator and is an excellent language for writing reports to print on fixed pitch font printers. These were very task orientated languages; they are excellent for their designated purpose. For example Fortran was and still is an excellent language for manipulating number but not good for handling character data.

The first widely-used general purpose language was C. This was and is an excellent language provided you have ample time to write in it. C++ was an improvement but in some implementations got lost in a labyrinth of complexity.  C# is a vast improvement. The adoption of C by the Linux / Unit community means that it is one of the most widely available languages.

So why were they designed that way?
Assembler provide a near one to one to the machine code on the host machine.
COBOL was oriented to easily express the solutions to common business problems.
RPG was designed for report writing.
FORTRAN was designed to solve mathematic problems.
C was designed for general systems programming use.
C# was designed as replacement for C++ which could be easily used.

For more information start at and explore.



Posted on Friday, October 7, 2011 4:02 PM | Back to top

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