Programming languages have literally helped the modern world run by giving instructions to computers and other electronic devices. There are many different programming languages that we use every day, but some of them have been around for quite some time and remain very popular. Here are some of the oldest programming languages still in use.1, 2



The oldest programming language is Fortran, which was first commercially released in 1957. A group of programmers at IBM, under the direction of John Backus, first created the programming language.

Backus made a suggestion to his bosses at IBM in late 1953 about creating a more useful programming language than assembly language for their IBM 704 mainframe computer. Fortran was ready for use a year later and made available to the public three years later. The computer programming landscape was quickly altered by Fortran, which has been used continuously for the past six decades.



The second-oldest high-level programming language still in widespread use today is Lisp, which was introduced just a year after Fortran. John McCarthy, a renowned computer scientist and co-author of the paper that first used the term “artificial intelligence,” is regarded as one of the founders of the field of artificial intelligence. McCarthy created Lisp.

During the summer of 1956, McCarthy began creating the concept for Lisp while working on the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. In 1958, Lisp—which is an acronym for LISt Processor—was prepared for general use. Over the years, the programming language has undergone numerous changes, and today there are many different Lisp dialects, which are variations of the original programming language.



The Conference on Data System Languages created COBOL, also known as Common Business Oriented Language, in 1959. The rising cost of programming at the time worried both computer users and manufacturers. It was suggested that conversion would become less expensive and quicker if a typical business-oriented language were used. These worries led to a meeting with the Department of Defense, which led to the creation of COBOL, which has since been primarily used in business, financial, and administrative systems for organizations and governments.



The first commercial programming was SQL, which Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce created at IBM in 1974. The relational model for database management by Edgar F. Codd was one of the first programming languages used in commercial software, and it was used by SQL. The programming language was developed to access and manipulate data held in IBM’s System R database management system. Since that time, the SQL language has been recognized as the industry standard for relational database communication by both the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO).



Another significant programming language that has been used extensively and influenced many other languages is C. Dennis Ritchie created the programming language C, a replacement for B, at Bell Labs between 1972 and 1973 for the brand-new Unix operating system. C was utilized in numerous projects over the following few years by the Bell System as well as by other research-focused industrial, academic, and governmental organizations. C gained popularity in the 1980s and eventually became one of the most widely used programming languages.



Ada is a decades-old, structured, statically typed, imperative, and object-oriented high-level programming language that is still in use in 2022. Ada was developed by Jean Ichbiah and his team at CII-Honeywell-Bull in France for the American Department of Defense at the beginning of the 1980s as a tribute to Ada Lovelace. The Department of Defense used hundreds of programming languages at the time Ada was developed, between 1977 and 1983, and it was intended for Ada to take their place. Even today, very large and important software systems are still developed using the Ada programming language.

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  1. 10 Oldest Programming Languages Still in Use – (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from 
  2. Top 10 Oldest Programming Languages that are Still in Use in 2022. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from