The world of programming has evolved significantly since its inception, with numerous programming languages developed over the decades. Some of these languages, despite being created many years ago, remain relevant and are still in use today. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 oldest programming languages that continue to play a vital role in the world of software development.
Numerous programming languages that existed at the time have since been developed and are no longer used. Even after their many years of existence, the programming languages on this list remain among the most widely used.
Top 10 Oldest Programming Languages 2022
1. Fortran: Fortran, formerly known as FORTRAN, is the oldest programming language currently in use. It was initially commercially distributed in 1957. The programming language was created by an IBM team led by John Backus.
Backus presented a plan to his IBM supervisors in late 1953 to create a more useful programming language than assembly language for their IBM 704 mainframe computer. Fortran was made available to the general public three years after it was made usable one year later. Fortran swiftly transformed the field of computer programming, and it has been in use ever since for the past 60 years.
2. Lisp: Lisp is the 2nd oldest high-level programming language still in common use today following Fortran, which was introduced just a year later. John McCarthy, a renowned computer scientist and one of the pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence, created Lisp. During the summer of1956, 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. A version of the original programming language, Lisp, has undergone several changes over the years and is currently spoken in a broad range of dialects.
3. COBOL: In 1959, the Conference on Data System Languages created COBOL, which stands for Common Business Oriented Language (CODASYL). Those days, the growing expense of programming alarmed both computer users and manufacturers. It was proposed that conversion would become more affordable and fast if a typical business-oriented language were utilized.
These worries led to a meeting with the Department of Defense, which led to the birth of COBOL, which has since been predominantly utilized in corporate, financial, and administrative systems for organizations and governments. Programming language FLOW-MATIC created by Grace Hopper served as a foundation for some of COBOL’s design.
4. BASIC: While every programming language on this list has had an impact on the computer world, BASIC (Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) stands out as possibly the most innovative. John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz first published BASIC in 1964 at Dartmouth College, enabling common people—particularly undergraduates majoring in subjects other than science and mathematics—to program and operate computers.
The most popular computer programming language over time was BASIC because it was so simple to learn. The 1980s saw a drop in the use of BASIC, but more recently, interest in the programming language has increased.
5. Pascal: Although BASIC was still taught in many institutions, Niklaus Wirth’s Pascal gained popularity among students seeking to learn more sophisticated programming abilities. For the purpose of promoting organized programming and data organization, Wirth invented Pascal. People with minicomputers or microcomputers utilized Pascal often.
Pascal was used to create commercial software in the late 1970s and early 1980s in addition to being utilized in college-level computer programming classes. Blaise Pascal, a well-known French mathematician, philosopher, and physicist, was honored when Niklaus Wirth named his programming language Pascal in his honor.
6. C: Another significant programming language that has been used extensively and impacted 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 several projects during the following few years by the Bell System as well as by other research-focused corporate, academic, and governmental institutions. C gained popularity in the 1980s and eventually became one of the most extensively used programming languages.
C was created to support cross-platform programming, making it simpler to create programs that can be easily converted to several computer platforms and operating systems with few source code modifications.
7. Smalltalk: An early object-oriented programming language called Smalltalk was created at Xerox PARC by a group under the direction of Alan Kay. At the Learning Research Group (LRG) at Xerox PARC, it was developed in part for educational purposes, notably for constructionist learning (in which students build mental models to comprehend the world around them). Smalltalk-80, the commercial version of Smalltalk, was not published until 1980.
Before before, only Xerox Alto machines could run Smalltalk. Smalltalk remains one of the most cherished programming languages of all time, despite the existence of more sophisticated object-oriented programming languages. Smalltalk had a significant impact on almost all object-oriented languages that followed, including Flavors, Java, Ruby, Python, CLOS, Objective-C, and several more.
8. SQL: Early in the 1970s, Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce created SQL (Structured Query Language) at IBM. Edgar F. Codd’s relational paradigm for database administration was one of the first commercial computer languages to be used. The database management system, System R from IBM, was designed with this programming language in mind. Since that time, the SQL language has been recognized as the de facto standard language for communicating with relational databases by both the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO).
MySQL, which Oracle created in the late 1970s in response to IBM’s SQL release, is one of the most well-known SQL database management systems.
9. Ada: Under a contract with the US Department of Defense, Jean Ichbiah and his team at CII-Honeywell-Bull in France created Ada in the early 1980s. A portion of Pascal and other prior languages served as the foundation for the structured, statically typed, imperative, and object-oriented high-level programming language.
The Department of Defense was utilizing hundreds of programming languages when Ada was developed, from 1977 and 1983, and it was intended to take their place. Ada is still used today to create very big and important software systems.
10. MATLAB: As suggested by its name, MATLAB was created by MathWorks in the early 1980s and is used by millions of individuals with backgrounds in engineering, science, and economics. MATLAB, which started as a straightforward interactive matrix calculator, now enables matrix manipulations, function and data visualization, algorithm implementation, user interface design, and interfacing with various programming languages.
Because LINPACK and EISPACK are both mathematical software libraries, Cleve Moler created MATLAB so that his students could utilize them without having to learn Fortran. The previous few decades have seen MATLAB continue to be used successfully and widely.
By giving instructions to computers and other electronic equipment, programming languages do actually aid in the smooth operation of the contemporary world. Developers employ a wide variety of programming languages on a regular basis. Even in 2022, engineers still appreciate utilizing some of the older programming languages that are occasionally offered to them.