Why are there so many programming languages?

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Why are there so many programming languages?

In today’s rich programming languages, I believe that many developers have the above questions. But the question has been raised since the early 1960s.

The “ACM Newsletter” journal recently published an article entitled “Why Are There So Many Programming Languages?” . The author pointed out an important reason in the article: the company wants to control the programming language based on the demands of commercial interests, so it will invent itself. language.

In the mid-1990s, Visual Basic and Visual C++ were the main programming languages ​​developed and maintained by Microsoft. Both languages ​​are derived from existing programming languages, Visual Basic has the advantage of building front-end applications for the Windows desktop platform, but it lacks many high-level language features (eg data structures, threads). While Visual C++ can handle almost everything, it’s quite complex. Then came Java in 1996, a full-featured object-oriented programming language, not as complex as C++.

One of Java’s core features is platform portability , but that wasn’t what Microsoft wanted, so Sun Microsystems, the company behind Java, ran afoul of Microsoft and started litigating in 1997. The strained relationship eventually led Microsoft to release a programming language called C# in 2002, which looked a lot like Java but wasn’t. Of course, the most important difference between the two is that C# is a programming language that Microsoft can control on its own Windows platform.

In addition to the company’s demands for control and wealth, the reason why so many programming languages ​​are closely related to the technological environment and level of the time. Many things that take for granted now were not in the past, and early computers had limited and expensive storage, memory, and processing power. People have to go to great lengths to get to the computer lab and stay up all night to get computer time.

In those days, programming languages ​​were usually designed for certain tasks or jobs, and the naming of programming languages ​​was simpler – because namespaces had not yet been developed. In the 1950s and 1960s, the original programs had the “luxury” of being named exactly what they did: FORTRAN (formula translator), COBOL (Common Language for Business), BASIC (Common Symbolic Instruction Code for Beginners), ALGOL (algorithmic language), LISP (list processor). Most people probably haven’t heard of SNOBOL (String and Symbol-Oriented Language, 1962), but a little guesswork from the name suggests its purpose. If there was more understanding of object-oriented programming concepts in that era, I’m sure someone would have used a name like “OBJOL” — explicitly named an object-oriented language, at least according to the naming pattern at the time.

By now, more programming languages ​​are in many ways reinventing the wheel – many of them are various combinations of the following properties:

  • License

  • platform

  • language paradigm

  • type system

  • Concurrency

  • memory management

  • implement

The text and pictures in this article are from the OSC open source community


This article is reprinted from https://www.techug.com/post/why-are-there-so-many-programming-languagese215e623f74f6976bcec/
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