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7 Wonders of Programming Languages

M Easter
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Joined: Feb 11, 2007
Posts: 133
All of the major news media have announced the results of the massive effort to vote on the "New 7 Wonders of the World". This is an update to the venerable list of antiquity.

I have my own list in mind, and will probably blog soon, but I thought it might make an interesting topic for JR:

What are the 7 wonders of the world of programming languages?

The hardest part of making such a list is often (a) what is the criteria and (b) which languages to _exclude_ ??

On my list so far: Fortran, Lisp, C, Java. I'm twiddling the other 3. Will have to think on it. e.g. if I go with popularity and show respect to Cobol, then that sort of implies Visual Basic. Yet having both of those languages on my list is just wrong.

what's your list?


M Easter
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Henry Wong
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  40

First, I would probably choose Prolog over Lisp -- although neither language is in popular use today. I never understood why Lisp became the AI language of choice, while Prolog, which is much better IMO, didn't.

Second, I would put Pascal on the list. I really liked that language, and spent many years working with it. Today, Pascal programmers are probably using Delphi -- the object oriented version of Pascal.

Third, I would also put Assembly on the list. Spent many years doing device drivers for DOS (intel 80x86), and quite frankly, there is some nostalgia for it.

Fourth, I agree with C. For me, that was the "high level" language that was able to even replace assembly. And although, I worked with C++ for many years, I just thought it was okay.

Fifth, I agree with Java. It is what C++ should have been... nuff said.

Sixth, I would choose TCL. (which is actually only a scripting language) I know there are tons of people who would disagree here, as there are many issues with it... But IMO, this language is my choice (even over Perl) because it was the first language that had extensions. And I used two of those extensions -- TK and Expect -- for many years.

Henry


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Ulf Dittmer
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Joined: Mar 22, 2005
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  65
Although Pascal has had a bigger impact, I'd go for Oberon instead (which became a full operating system, in addition to being a programming language).

Niklaus Wirth's paper From Modula to Oberon is a fascinating read about how to create a successor to a language by pruning many of its features.


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M Easter
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Joined: Feb 11, 2007
Posts: 133
I'll have to check out the Oberon article... It sounds like it might be very relevant to the scene in Java today?

re: C++. I think C++ was vastly important as a transitional language. Sort of like in evolution, where there is one species that crosses the divide. e.g. an amphibian that lays eggs. Perhaps that species doesn't last in the long run, but it was massively important.

I've blogged my list... The winners are (for me):

Fortran, Lisp, Smalltalk, C, Python, Java, Javascript (!)

with honours to Cobol, VB, C++, and APL. That last one is a doozie... what a wonderfully weird language.
Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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Fortran, Lisp, Smalltalk, C, Python, Java, Javascript (!)


I like this list a lot - even though Prolog might be "better" than Lisp, there's no question that Lisp had, and continues to have, more impact than Prolog.

I think that Perl ought to be in there, even though emotionally I like seeing Python, I think objectively Perl ought to replace Python on the list...or we could just make it "8" instead of "7"


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M Easter
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Joined: Feb 11, 2007
Posts: 133
I thought a lot about Perl vs Python... ultimately, for me, I decided that language elegance trumped massive use of inelegance. So that excluded Cobol PHP, and VB as well...

and yet Javascript is on there, which is a bit of a contradiction of my logic. *shrug*

re: #8. That's the problem with Seven Wonders: finite resources! It is easy to make a list but hard to _trim_ a list.
Peter Rooke
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Joined: Oct 21, 2004
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No consideration for the Structured Query Language?


Regards Pete
siva kumar
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Joined: May 02, 2004
Posts: 120
Hi Guys,

If you are looking @ languages that have caused paradigm shift in Computer world... Then I guess my list would be

Assembly Language - Moved Programming from binary to Human readable code.

Fortran - Moved programming far from Assembly to more human readable format(

Cobol and others... followed the suite).

PL/I - First language to be seriously considered for System programming/Structured programming ( C, Pascal, modula2 followed the suite).

LISP - Introduced the concept of Functional programming.

SMALLTALK - Popularized the concept of OO programming ( Till now many languages follow some of its ideas)

I am not aware if you can write programs in JCL if not

Unix Shell scripts (sh/AWK/ect) - Introduced the concept of scripting for handling routine tasks ( Perl, python... followed the suite).

PROLOG - Popularized the paradigm of Logic programing

Well you can also add the following

BASIC - A clone of FORTRAN which made bill gates rich
Barry Gaunt
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Joined: Aug 03, 2002
Posts: 7729
MIX as used in Knuth's TAOCP


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Barry Gaunt
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Possibly Scheme as used in Abelson and Sussman's SICP
Ulf Dittmer
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  65
Originally posted by Barry Gaunt:
Possibly Scheme as used in Abelson and Sussman's SICP


That book was certainly a mind-opener for me, who I started out with procedural languages. I just loved it (and Scheme, although I never used that beyond the entry-level college course).
Christophe Verré
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Assembly Language - Moved Programming from binary to Human readable code.

I don't call people reading assembly humans, although I was one of them


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