cannot be executed in their original form (source code). This section describes a few of
the major programming languages.
The COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language) programming language
was introduced in 1959. Developed in response to business community requirements, it
was used mostly on mainframe computers providing data-processing services to large
companies. More efficient and faster general-purpose computer programming languages
exist in the market, but COBOL is going to remain with us because more than half of all
business application programs are written in COBOL.
The FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) programming language was devel-
oped in 1955. It is most suitable for scientific or engineering programming, and remains
the most popular scientific language. Of course, FORTRAN has been modified to meet
the demands of new computers. The current version of FORTRAN is FORTRAN77,
which is a general-purpose language capable of dealing with numeric and symbolic prob-
lems. As with COBOL, a large body of existing code was written in FORTRAN, and it is
still used in engineering and science.
The Pascal programming language was developed in 1968 and is named after
the seventeenth-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal. The idea of good style and
habits in programming was around and the buzzwords “structured programming” were
taking shape when Pascal was created, which incorporated
ideas. Pascal was designed as a language to help students learn structured programming
and develop good habits in programming. However, the use of Pascal is not limited to
educational institutions; it is used in industry to create readable and maintainable codes.
The BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming
language was developed in 1964 to help students with no computer background learn
about computers and programming. It is accepted as the most effective programming lan-
guage for instructional purposes. Since then, BASIC has evolved into a general-purpose
language, and its use is not limited to the education field. BASIC is widely implemented
and is used in business applications.
The C programming language was developed in 1972, and it is based on principles
practiced in Pascal programming. It is mainly for targeted system programming, creating
operating systems, compilers, and so on. Most of the UNIX operating system is written
in C. C is a fast, efficient, general-purpose language. It is also a portable language; it is
relatively machine independent. A C program written for one type of computer can be
run on another with little or no modification. C is by far the language of choice for many
programmers developing programs for business, scientific, and other applications.