Re: Languages from the 1950s

gah4@u.washington.edu
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:09:44 -0700 (PDT)

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Languages from the 1950s derek@_NOSPAM_knosof.co.uk (Derek M. Jones) (2020-03-30)
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Re: Languages from the 1950s derek@_NOSPAM_knosof.co.uk (Derek M. Jones) (2020-03-31)
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From: gah4@u.washington.edu
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:09:44 -0700 (PDT)
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 20-03-030
Injection-Info: gal.iecc.com; posting-host="news.iecc.com:2001:470:1f07:1126:0:676f:7373:6970"; logging-data="96478"; mail-complaints-to="abuse@iecc.com"
Keywords: history
Posted-Date: 01 Apr 2020 11:33:39 EDT
In-Reply-To: 20-03-030

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 9:04:52 AM UTC-7, Derek M. Jones wrote:


> I looking for manuals for languages from the 1950s,
> the earlier the better.


I first started looking for such in the 1970's, and had some
books from the library used book sale. The only one I remember
now is JOVIAL, which I remember never knowing any computer that
ran it, but still had to book for it. I might also have
had a book for JOSS.


It seems to me that there were a lot of machine specific
low-level languages, about at the assembly level, before the
machines were big enough to run compilers.


There is FLOW-MATIC, which Grace Hopper worked on before COBOL:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLOW-MATIC


It seems to me that COBOL goes to about 1960, so doesn't qualify
as the 1950's. AIMACO and COMTRAN were also on the pathway to COBOL.


IBM RPG also traces back to the 1950s, so that should apply.
It seems that FARGO is related to RPG.


As well as I know, Fortran from about 1956 is credited with
the idea of symbolic names more than one character long.
(Seems so obvious now.) There is FORTRANSIT for the IBM 650,
which doesn't seem to even have a Wikipedia page.


There is FOCAL and SNOBOL from the 1960's.
COMIT is a predecessor to SNOBOL from the 1950's.


> [I presume you've looked through bitsavers. -John]


It is hard to look through bitsavers without knowing the name.
If you find some old machine, though, then you can see which languages
people ran on it.


I suspect that the languages you might actually want to know
about came in the early 1960's.


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