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The first programming language you learned?

  1. Apr 25, 2010 #1

    rcgldr

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    In my case, it was quikomp, on a Monroe Monrobot XI. 1K of 32 bit words on a drum memory. Paper tape reader, paper tape punch, and a type writer console.

    http://jeffareid.net/misc/monrobot.jpg

    http://jeffareid.net/misc/quikomp.jpg

    Link to text of the first program I wrote (note comments were not part of program).
    I renamed "working register" to "accumulator" in the comments.

    http://jeffareid.net/misc/quikomp.txt

    This was at my high school, back in 1968. In 1969, we got a more conventional computer, an IBM 1130, card reader, card punch, line printer (a whopping 40 lines per minute, 80 if you knew you could simply remove one of the plug in cards used to "downgrade" the speed), typewriter console, 5MB hard drive, and a toggle switch / register display panel. We used Fortran IV (or maybe Fortran II), assembler, and some APL on it. Memory was limited, and many library functions would be paged in from the hard drive. I didn't mess with APL again until 1975 at a community college data center. My college and first jobs (1973) were mostly assembly with some Fortran IV. I didn't start using C until 1985 when I bought an Atari ST (like a Macintosh with color) for home use. I started using C for work in 1988, both on a Mac and a PC.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
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  3. Apr 25, 2010 #2

    Borg

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    My high school in the 70's had a computer that took up an entire building and cost a lot of money. I don't remember much about it other than taking a course in Basic. I didn't program again until 97. Then, it was Visual Basic, Unix, C, C++, and Java.
     
  4. Apr 25, 2010 #3
    That depends on your definition of 'learnt', I'm still not sure I've 'learnt' any language, and I've seen people teach languages whom I feel have learnt even less of these than I have. The first programming language I interacting in I've forgotten, but the first I practically used for non-trivial tasks was ECMAScript or PHP I guess. Nowadays I'm mostly into Scheme and XSLT.

    I remember still being in secondary school though, when some guys where feeling really cool about that they programmed in C++ and ****, I later found out their 'programming' involved things like a network of if-statements to sort 8 integers, these guys also wrote tutorials. Experiences like these made me hesitant to say that I 'know' any-thing at all, maybe I've made my fair mistakes here too, could be. For the moment, I'm going to say you only know a language once you can bootstrap it.

    I also never touched BASIC in my life, amicool?
     
  5. Apr 25, 2010 #4

    jtbell

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    I started with Fortran IV on an IBM 1130 when I was an undergraduate in the early 1970s. Program code and input data on punched cards, output on a line printer.

    In graduate school I moved up to Fortran 77, used my first video terminal, and wrote a lot of code for experimental particle physics.

    Since then, I've learned Pascal and C++ in order to teach courses in them, and Perl for Unix system administration tasks and some Web programming. (I also know HTML, but that's not a programming language.)

    I've also done assembly language for the PDP-5, IBM 1620, and the early Macs (Motorola 680x0 processors).

    Python is on my "to do" list for whenever I get enough time to tackle it.
     
  6. Apr 25, 2010 #5

    hotvette

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    In my case it was Fortran, then C, then Java, then Visual Basic (VBA).
     
  7. Apr 25, 2010 #6
    That's an interesting reversal of what's done nowadays.

    So, I take it that I'm probably the only higher-order programmer on this board? I feel so isolated.
     
  8. Apr 26, 2010 #7

    rcgldr

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    I think most people started with Fortran because that's what was available for most computers back then. On mini-computers, the lack of compilers and/or the need for peformance resulted in the usage of assembly. By the time people started getting computers in their homes, 6502's, 8080's, Z80's, Basic became the language of many hobbyists, and this trend continued through the early days of PC's. C was being used by the Unix community and also on the Apple Macintosh (1984), but my first experience with this was writing part of a backup application on the Macintosh and writing device drivers for SCO Xenix, back in 1988-1989. C was also used on the other 68000 home systems that came out later, the Atari ST, and Commodore Amiga. I bought an Atari ST back in late 1985.

    I also learned Cobol and APL, but never used Cobol at a job, and my usage of APL for work was limited to generating mathematical data, like huffman compression codes. APL was very popular at a pair of local (Orange County, California) community colleges back in 1975-> 1978, but then it's popularity vanished.

    Cobol shops are an interesting mix. Although I never used it for work myself, I did help some others with it. What was interesting was that some of the old mainframe database file structures could only be accessed via the macros provided in IBM's assembly language macros in ALC (assembly language compiler, BAL was Basic Assembly Language). Although there is an effort to convert ALC modules to Cobol, apparently some shops are content to continue using the old ALC modules along with the "classic" database architectures.

    Other bizzare languages came and went. You had data processing machines programmed via plug boards:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plugboard

    In my opinion, RPG is based on the plug board programming, being field oriented as opposed to a serialized set of instructions, with what logically are parallel and independent data movement and conversion operators. Cobol's "move corresponding" is similar. Going back in history, IBM 360's machine language includes a plugboard like "edit and mark" instruction (normally implemented as microcode in the CPU), to copy and format decimal strings to EBCDIC strings.

    In addition to Cobol, some "4th generation languages" should also be considered high level. My first esperience of a 4th generation language was with Prototyper for the Macintosh (back in 1989 I think). You essentially drew the user interface using a drag, drop, and edit interface, and it generated C code for you, along with comments with a special pattern to set the boundaries between the tool generated code and the code you added to it. I only worked with it to help out a consulting team working for the company I worked for at the time. Visual Studio includes drag and drop user interface programming, but I've never used it, as most of my work has been with operating systems on mini computers, and more recently computer peripherals that include small multi-tasking OS's internally, using mostly C with some assembly
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
  9. May 7, 2010 #8
    Well, I'm very young, with very I mean very. I'm not sure any more what language I first got introduced but it was already well past this era.

    I had this discussion before.... but again, higher order programming is a completely distinct concept from high level programming. There are comparatively low-level higher order language, and high level ones.
     
  10. May 7, 2010 #9
    I started back in 1992 with BASIC on a ZX81 then on an Apple IIe.
    Then moved on to "Hypercard" on Macintosh, Visual Basic and finally C, C++, C#.
     
  11. May 7, 2010 #10

    Mark44

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    The first language for me (and I certainly didn't learn it) was PL-C, in 1971. IIRC, PL-C is/was a subset of PL-I, a language that IBM developed for use on its mainframes. Next for me in 1976 was a variant of BASIC that ran on IBM minicomputers, my first exposure to an interpreted language.

    After that, FORTRAN 77, Apple's Basic, Pascal, Modula-2, C, x86 assembly, C++, Java, and now C#, plus HTML, Ecmascript.
     
  12. May 7, 2010 #11

    Borek

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    I don't think I have ever "learned" a language - that is, I was/am proficient in several, but I know there were always huge gaps in my knowledge. Perhaps the smallest ones in Turbo Pascal, in early nineties.

    Let's see... First program - Fortran IV in 1981 or early 1982. Then there was TI-59 - while it is hard to name the language, I spent a lot of time programming this calculator. Around 1984 I started with BASIC - ZX-81, then Spectrum. At about the same time I started to use Z80 assembler, so when I later switched to PC I had no large problems transferring to 8088. In 1988 - Turbo Pascal and some C, which later evolved into C++.
     
  13. May 7, 2010 #12
    Well, as I raised in my first post, what is 'learning a language?', to know ever single recess of it, to be able to write a formal specification of it? Then there are exactly two languages which I've learnt, Scheme and a language I've designed myself. Both are quite minimal.

    I'm pretty sure that of that language I've designed myself, I could author a formal spec that fits on half a sheet of paper.

    Though I know every recess of both, there aren't a lot of recesses, I'm pretty sure I could put PHP to more effective use than Scheme because I've done PHP for a substantial time now. I'd scratch my head trying to invent database solutions in Scheme because I've never done that in Scheme. PHP is just a lot broader and it's also completely unclear what is a 'standard' part of it and what is a 'library function'.
     
  14. May 7, 2010 #13

    Borg

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    I was more of a TI-58C man myself. Still works too. :biggrin:

    TI58-C.jpg
     
  15. May 7, 2010 #14

    Borek

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    Mine was stolen :frown:
     
  16. May 7, 2010 #15

    Borg

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    Sorry to hear that. :frown: They were good calculators for their time.
     
  17. May 7, 2010 #16

    Borek

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    Actually - living where I live - I was a little bit late. As far as I remember I got mine in Autumn 1984, mainly because previous owner (I think he was a professor at the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology) bought a new one. Similar situation was with ZX-81 - as far as I can tell it was property of some London University, in 1985 it was so outdated they donated it it to my Mom (with me being the target owner). Actually ZX-81 is somewhere here and probably still working (assuming my LCD HDMI 1080p TV will be still able to serve as a 256×192 monitor :rofl:

    In case you wonder - my Mom has a Ph.D. in Electrical engineering, hence her contacts with other people doing similar things. Her contacts with UK (western country) were quite unusual, as for someone living in Poland. Well, she was that good and that cute at the same time :wink:
     
  18. May 7, 2010 #17

    Borg

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    I definitely had mine before I started college in 1982 but I couldn't say for sure how much before.

    At the risk of detouring even more, this is what I've been using for the last two decades. Except for the height, it's smaller than a pack of cigarettes. I mostly just use it to balance my checking account anymore.

    fx7500g.jpg
     
  19. May 7, 2010 #18
    The first programming language I learned was Sinclair BASIC on the ZX81, followed shortly afterwards by Z80 assembler.
     
  20. May 11, 2010 #19
    BASIC on a TRS-80 pocket computer, followed by a Model IV, back in the mid 80's.
     
  21. May 13, 2010 #20
    Java was my first which was quite dumb, but I didn't know better. It probably would of been easier if I started with easier (less complex) programming languages.
     
  22. May 15, 2010 #21
    Basic, LOGO and then FoxPro ( this was in late 90s)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    www.digitalblggr.blogspot.com
     
  23. May 15, 2010 #22

    turbo

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    CUPL, then FORTRAN for engineering school. No new ones until I bought an IBM PS2 year later.
     
  24. May 18, 2010 #23
    I'm a highschool student and I grew up dabbling in Windows 98 and MS-DOS. *.BAT files were my first introduction to making the computer do things for me. I played a bit with QBasic and LOGO but the first language I set down to learning properly was Python. It's very elegant. Six years later, it's my primary programming language, but I'm also familiar with C/C++, and I've spent many a weekend with x86 through nasm. And, of course, web-dev stuff like XHTML, CSS and JavaScript.
     
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