A history of coding languages

  1. Plankalkul (Plan Calculus)


    Inventor: Konrad Zuse

    Konrad Zuse, a German civil engineer and the creator of the first binary digital computer, began developing Plan Calculus for use in engineering. It is lauded as the first algorithmic programming language. Due to WWII, this development was largely isolated from others in computer programming at the time.

  2. A-O


    Inventor: Grace Hopper

    Mathematician Grace Hopper completes A-O, a program that makes it possible for users to input instructions to a computer with English-like words, rather than numbers.

  3. Speedcode


    Inventor: John Backus

    Computer scientist John Backus completes the first high-level programming language for an IBM computer, called Speedcode. A high-level programming language is strongly abstracted from the details of a computer, meaning that it can be easier to use and even hide some lower-level functions like memory management.

  4. Fortran


    Inventor: John Backus, IBM

    Mr. Backus went on to develop Fortran, the first widely used high-level programming language, in 1957. Fortran was originally intended for scientific and engineering purposes but became a staple of computing, still in use today. Due to its powerful computing capacity, Fortran is useful in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction.

  5. ERMA


    Inventor: SRI International

    ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting) digitized the checking process for Bank of America by creating a font computers could read. In just one hour, ERMA could process the number of accounts that would have taken a well-trained banker nearly 17 work days to complete, according to the Computer History Museum.

  6. COBOL


    Inventor: CODASYL

    COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) was developed by a consortium of computer manufacturers and the Pentagon as part of a U.S. Department of Defense project to build a portable programming language for data processing with the hope that the program could run on any computer, independent of the make. COBOL is still used in legacy applications.

  7. BASIC


    Inventor: Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny

    Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code was created for students at Dartmouth College who had no prior computer programming experience. It would eventually spread to other schools, globally.

  8. SABRE


    Inventor: IBM

    IBM developed the Semi-automated Business Research Environment to allow American Airlines to automate reservation bookings. It was first tested in 1960 but took over American's booking process by 1964. SABRE gave rise to Sabre Corp., a publicly traded technology company for travel services that owns Travelocity.

  9. Pascal


    Inventor: Niklaus Wirth

    Developed as a programming language for both commercial and scientific applications, Pascal became the entry point for a generation of students learning computer programming.

  10. C


    Inventor: Dennis Ritchie and Bell Labs

    C is released in 1972 and is used to rewrite the source code for the Unix operating system. With widespread use of Unix, C became popular. It's still widely used.

  11. Ada


    Inventor: Jean Ichbiah

    The U.S. Department of Defense funded the development of the Ada language to replace many obsolete and hardware-dependent languages then in use. Ada is named for Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron. The countess is credited with being the first computer programmer.

  12. C++


    Inventor: Bjarne Stroustrup

    Billed as a general purpose programming language, C++ combined the ability to map hardware features of a computer with the ability to program in high-level abstractions.

  13. Mathematica


    Inventor: Stephen Wolfram

    Used in mathematical, scientific, academic and engineering fields, Mathematica is a computing language that allows mathematical symbols for equations or functions.

  14. HTML


    Inventor: Tim Berners-Lee

    As an independent contractor for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first specification of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and its first browser and server software in 1990. He is credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web.

  15. Java 1.0


    Inventor: Sun Microsystems

    To free users from traditional software vendors like Apple and Microsoft, the first iteration of Java released to the public was famous for allowing users to write code once and run it anywhere.

  16. Javascript


    Inventor: Brendan Eich

    JavaScript, one of the core technologies behind the World Wide Web, is developed. It is widely used to make webpages interactive. While it shares a name with Java 1.0, it is not the same.

  17. HTML5


    Inventor: World Wide Web Consortium; Tim Berners-Lee

    HTML5, the most recent version of the HyperText Markup Language, is published. It's the standard for creating webpages and web applications.