Programming Language Trends

Computer programming allows human beings to interact with machines. We need to program devices to do what we want them to do. For example, many people have smartphones. Inside a smartphone, there are many programs written by many different people. You can download various programs if you want the smartphone to do something new. Businesses use websites and computer programs to operate efficiently. For example, many companies have websites that allow their customers to buy online. Various computer programming languages were used to create these programs. There are many programming languages out there. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages for any specific purpose. So, the programmer needs to select the best language to meet the need. Technology improves over time, including computer programming languages. This paper reviews programming language trends.

How many programming languages are there?

From Trent Fowler’s “Career Karma: How many computer programming languages are there?” 21 July 2020: According to Fowler, it depends on who you ask. The HOPL (History of Programing Language) claims there have been about 9000 programming languages from the beginning of computing. The most accepted answer seems to be Wikipedia’s list of 700. But according to the Tiobe index, only the 50 most popular languages are in everyday use today. Fowler asks, “Why are there so many programming languages? “ He says, “Many coding languages are built for a specific function. Programming languages are made to control automated factory machines, design video games, or even teach people how to program.”

https://www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/ (Dec 2021)

Machine Language, a combination of 1s and 0s, is the only language a computer can directly understand. Programming in Machine Language is complicated and time-consuming for humans. So, more human-understandable languages were invented. Low-Level Languages are close to writing Machine Language and are easier for humans to understand. Low-level languages are very fast to execute but are specific to computer architecture and therefore are not portable. High-Level languages are much easier for humans to understand, so most programmers use these. High-level languages allow the programmer to focus more on describing what they want the computer to do and less on how it should be done. However, high-level languages are slower to execute. The definition of programming language terms like these can be found on the website Computer Hope in their computer terms, dictionary, and glossary.

In the 1950s

From “The software Guild”: Programming through the years posted on 30 July 2015. Each computer manufacturer used its programming languages to tell their computers what to do in the early days. According to the Software Guild, in the 1950s, the first programing language invented was Autocode as part of the “simplified coding system”. Then came the languages COBOL, designed for business, and FORTRAN, created for scientific computation.

According to the National Museum of American History, COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. Programs written in COBOL were run on the computers from more than one manufacturer. Businesses quickly adopted COBOL because software developers could write business programs and sell them to many companies regardless of the computer they purchased. Governments adopted COBOL because they often purchased computers from multiple vendors. It grew and dominated much of business and government data processing for decades. Millions of banking transactions are still processed using COBOL programs today. COBOL is listed as 25th on the TIOBE Index of the most used programming languages today.

FORTRAN language has been used for decades in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, geophysics, computational physics, crystallography, and computational chemistry. The name came from the phrase Formula Translator. FORTRAN was later the basis for other programming languages like BASIC. FORTRAN has been improved over the years. Some versions were named FORTRAN 77 and Fortran 90; the latest was FORTRAN 2018. FORTRAN is listed as 19th on the TIOBE Index of most used languages today.

In the 1960s

In the 1960s, ALGOL 68 was invented, which is short for “Algorithmic Language”. ALGOL did not grow in popularity like COBOL and FORTRAN because of the complexity of the language’s definition, which runs several hundred pages. But it did find niche markets like in the United Kingdom, where it was popular on International Computers Limited computers. ALGOL is still in use today but is not in the top 50 on the TIOBE index.

In the 1970s

In the 1970s, two languages were invented. The first one was PASCAL, named after Blaise Pascal. It is suitable for defining complex data types. The second was the C language by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie with Bell Labs. It maps closely to Machine Language.

The Pascal language was successful because it was used for teaching programming in some universities. According to White, from the CIO website “9 Legacy programming skills still in demand”, the Pascal language was replaced by C, C++, and Java but is still used for intro programming. Pascal is listed as 17th on the TIOBE Index.

The C language replaced programs previously written in Assembly Language, like operations systems. It was designed to be cross-platform. It provides low-level access to memory and other hardware. And then its use expanded from there to many applications. Over the last 20 years, it has ranked in the top two on the TIOBE Index.

In the 1980s

In the 1980s, two languages were invented. The first language was C++, created by Bjarne Stroustrup. It improved over C because it has object-oriented, generic, and functional features. It has been used to develop software infrastructures such as desktop applications, video games, video editing apps, and servers. C++ is listed as 4th on the TIOBE Index. The Second language was Perl, developed by Larry Wall. It makes report processing easier. Perl is listed as 16th on the TIOBE Index.

In the 1990s

In the 1990s, three languages were invented. The first was Python, created by Guido van Rossum a Dutch programmer. The focus was on easy-to-read programming. Next, the Java language was created by James Arthur Gosling while he was working for Sun Microsystems. It is used for “write once, run anywhere”. Lastly, the PHP language was created by Rasmus Lerdorf. It is primarily used for server-side scripting for website development.

The Python language design philosophy includes “Beautiful is better than ugly”, “Explicit is better than implicit”, and “Simple is better than complex”. Its developers wanted the language to be fun to use. The name is a tribute to the British comedy group Monty Python. It has a smaller core and a more significant number of libraries, making the language easily extendable. From my experience, the cool part of using Python is the indentation of statements. Because if one indent is not correct, a syntax error will appear. Other excellent parts are if, else if, and else statements. Python is widely used in data analytics, machine learning, and design. One of the business examples is Spotify. Python is 1st on the TIOBE Index.

The Java language goals include “It must be simple, object-oriented, and familiar”, “It must be architecture-neutral and portable”, and “It must be interpreted, threaded, and dynamic”. Java code is compiled to bytecode and can run on any computer architecture with a Java Virtual Machine. This includes laptops, data center servers, game consoles, televisions, smartphones, and supercomputers. The syntax is like C++. Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems in 2010 and is now in control of the language. One example business using Java is eBay. Java is 3rd on the TIOBE Index.

The PHP language is usually processed on a web server by a PHP interpreter and outputs an HTTP response. There are template systems, content management systems, and frameworks built on top of PHP. It is similar to Microsoft’s ASP.NET, Sun Microsystem’s JavaServer Pages, and mod_perl. It can also be used for graphical applications and robotic drone control. PHP is part of the LAMP architecture, including Linux, Apache, and MySQL. One example of a business using this is Wikipedia. PHP is 10th on the TIOBE Index.

In the 2000s

In the 2000s, there were two languages created. The first one was C# which Anders Hejlsberg designed from Microsoft and built on the .NET Framework. This language is intended to be simple, modern, and object-oriented. Next, there was Visual Basic.Net, also from Microsoft, built on the .NET Framework. It was an upgrade to the Visual Basic language.

The C# name was inspired by the musical notation “sharp” symbol. Also, the “#” symbol combines four “+” symbols because the language improves over C++. Design goals like “strong type checking, array bounds checking, and detection of attempts to use uninitialized variables” helps keep programmers from coding mistakes. The syntax allows programmers familiar with C and C++ to switch their skills and code to C#. C# and the .NET Framework are like Java and the Java Virtual Machine. C# is 5th on the TIOBE Index.

The Visual Basic.Net (VB.NET) language syntax allows programmers familiar with Visual Basic to switch their skills and code to VB.NET and the .NET Framework. Both C# and VB.NET compile to Intermediate Language, which runs on the same .NET Framework and use the same set of .NET libraries. This allowed two large groups of programmers to come together on a common platform. VB.NET (now called Visual Basic) is 6th on the TIOBE Index.

In the 2010s

In the 2010s, the Swift language was created by Apple as an upgrade to the older Objective-C. Chris Lattner started it. The development team got some ideas from the Ruby, Python, and C# languages. One design goal was to integrate Swift with many existing Objective-C codes already developed. Because Swift uses the Objective-C runtime library, it allows C, Objective-C, C++, and Swift code to run within one program. Another design goal was to help prevent programming errors and make it easier to catch program bugs. Swift won first place for Most Loved Programming Language in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2015. One company using this language is Uber. Swift is 14th on the TIOBE Index.

The Latest

One of the latest programming languages is an experimental language from Microsoft Research. The language is named Bosque and was created by Mark Marron. The syntax of TypeScript and JavaScript inspired it. The design goal is to move beyond the structured programming model that became popular in the 1970s and continues today. Marron believes we can do better by eliminating sources of complexity like loops, mutable states, and reference equality. The programming is simple, obvious, and easy to reason about for both humans and machines. The elimination of “accidental complexity accomplishes this.” Bosque is not on the TIOBE Index because it is still experimental.

In Conclusion

The evolution of programming languages started in the 1950s. Some older languages are still in use, and some are not. Languages keep improving to make programming more accessible and better. It would help if you considered which language to use before starting programming.

CODE EXAMPLES OF THE TOP 3 PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES ON THE TIOBE INDEX

#1 PYTHON

# Python Program to Print Natural Numbers from 1 to Nnumber = int(input("Please Enter any Number: "))print("The List of Natural Numbers from 1 to {0} are".format(number))for i in range(1, number + 1):print (i, end = '  ')

#2 C

/* C program to print all natural numbers from 1 to n */#include <stdio.h>int main(){int i, n;printf("Enter any number: ");scanf("%d", &n);printf("Natural numbers from 1 to %d : \n", n);for(i=1; i<=n; i++){printf("%d\n", i);}return 0;
}

#3 JAVA

// Java Program to Print Natural Numbers from 1 to Nimport java.util.Scanner;public class NaturalNumbers1 {private static Scanner sc;public static void main(String[] args) {int number, i;sc = new Scanner(System.in);System.out.print(" Please Enter any Number : ");number = sc.nextInt();for(i = 1; i <= number; i++) {System.out.print(i +"\t");}}}

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A Seattle web design and online marketing agency that delivers high-end websites. A passion for web development and SEO.