The intended uses of FORTRAN and COBOL were always very clear. However, as the complexity and sophistication of the applications being developed for business increased, a language was needed that would be capable of feeling with computation and heavy-duty file handling. For this reason, IBM and two international organization of computer users began to develop a general-purpose programming language, which was designated programming language 1 or pl/1. Pl/1 was released in the mid-1960s for use on the IBM system 360 series of computers and has since been used primarily on mind-frame computer systems.
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C, which is quite sophisticated, was introduced by Brain Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie at laboratories in the early 1970 for use in writing systems software. It was used to create most of the UNIX operating system (assembly language was used in create the rest). Today, it is useful for writing operating systems, database management software and some scientific applications. Increasingly, c has been used in commercial software development, including games, robotics and graphics. It is now considered to be a necessary language for programmers to know.
The Pascal language, named after the 17th- century French mathematician Blasé Pascal, was developed by Swiss scientist Nicklaus Wirth and introduced in the early 1970s. Available for both large and small computer systems, it was developed to teach programming as a systematic and structured activity Pascal is taught at most universities and colleges because of its superior structured programming format. Structured programming, which we describe in this chapter, is based on the smaller more manageable units, called modules.
Developed by Nicklaus Wirth as an improvement of Pascal and introduced in 1980, Modula-2 is better suited for business use than Pascal, and although its used primary to write systems software, it can be used as an applications software development tool. Many experts believed that it may become a popular business programming language.
In 1975, the U. S. development of defense began to encourage the creation of a language that would facilitate the development and maintenance of large programs for any application from business to missile launching and that could be used and modified over a long period of time. This decision was prompted by the results of a study showing that lack of uniformity in the use if languages resulted in yearly software costs of billions of dollars. These costs were necessary to pay for the large staff of programmers required to support all the different languages used.
The programming language Ada was derived from pascal and named after Augusta Ada, countess of Lovelace, the daughter if the famous English poet lord Byron. The countess of Lovelace worked with the mathematician Charles Babbage. In the mid -1800s to develop mechanical computing devices and is considered to be the world’s first programmer. Ada is intended primarily for use in computer systems that are an integral part of another system for which they act as the control mechanism; that is they are embedded systems. Many military weapons systems and equipment, for example, have embedded computer systems. However, the language can be used for commercial as well as military applications. Ada combines the good qualities of Pascal with improved input/output capabilities.
Also known as very high-level languages or problem-oriented languages, fourth –generation languages (4gls) are as yet difficult to define in general, because they are defined differently by different vendors; sometimes these languages are tied to a software package produced by the vendor such as a database management system. Basically 4gls are easier for programmers and users to handle than third –generation languages. Fourth-generation language (4GLS) are nonprocedural languages so named because they allow programmers and users to specify what the computer is supposed to do without having to specify how the computer is supposed to do it which as you recall must be done with third generation high level (procedural) languages. Consequently fourth generation languages need approximately one-tenth number of statements that a high level programming languages needs to achieve the same result. Because they are so much easier to use than third generation languages fourth generation languages allow users or non-computer professionals to develop certain types of applications software. It is likely that in the business environment you will at some time use a fourth generation language in the following sections we describe three types of fourth generation language tools.