Today’s digital world is based on computer programming. Systems and devices we use every day rely on computer programming to function properly. For instance, you use a programming language every time you use social media, send an email, share a story, search for the nearest convenience store, or even set an alarm on your phone. Programming languages allow humans to communicate with machines and direct them to perform specific tasks. Humans and machines process information differently, which makes programming languages crucial to bridging the gap between the two.1
But how did it all start? What fueled its development into the dominant industry it is today?
Well well, here’s a little flashback into the retrospective journey of the first programming language. Isn’t there, however, a heated debate about it? After all, which was it? Read on to find out the answers.
The Very First Computer Programming Language
What if I told you that the first programming language was created in 1883? Ada Lovelace developed the first machine algorithm for a computing machine at a time when there were no computers, and wrote it down on paper! Programming languages have undoubtedly progressed since then, but in order to comprehend their history, one must first acknowledge their origin.
The “Algorithm for the Analytical Engine” by Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the first computer language. It was designed by Ada to assist Charles Babbage with Bernoulli number computations. Lovelace was able to recognize the significance of numbers as she worked on the Analytical Engine with Charles Babbage. The Analytical Engine was a primitive mechanical computer.1
Because of its ability to be programmed to solve problems of any complexity, Lovelace describes her machine as distinct from previous calculating machines. Her contributions to computer programming are significant because they demonstrated the capabilities of computed devices nearly a century before the concept of a modern programming computer was conceived. Lovelace is credited with inventing the first computer programming language as a result of her contribution. After that, development of new devices in response to different needs have led to the emergence of many new languages.2
Most computer programming languages were inspired by or built on previous programming languages’ concepts. Newer computer programming languages make programmers’ work easier, while older ones continue to serve as a strong foundation for new ones. To meet all of their data, transaction, and customer service needs, businesses rely heavily on programs. Science and medicine require precise and complex programs for their research. To keep up with consumer demands, mobile applications must be updated. With all of these new developments and growing needs, computer programming languages will continue to play an important role in modern society.3
- Computer History: A Timeline of Computer Programming Languages | HP® Tech Takes. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/tech-takes/computer-history-programming-languages
- 📱 History of Programming Languages | Full Stack Programmer Course 💯. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.learnacademy.org/blog/first-programming-language-use-microsoft-apple/
- A History of Computer Programming Languages. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.onlinecollegeplan.com/computer-programming-languages/