New kid on the block / introduction

cstb jas at
Sun Nov 5 01:27:20 PST 2006

At 08:48 AM 11/4/2006, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:
>When you come right down to it, there are really only half a dozen or so
>truly unique programming languages. My list is *macro* assembler,
>Fortran, Lisp, Forth, APL and Smalltalk. I've gotten into arguments
>about whether Algol should be in there or not, but so far, nobody has
>convinced me that it represents anything more than a merging of concepts
>from Fortran and Lisp. And perhaps macro assembler and Forth don't need
>to both be there.

Not a bad list, old timer.

Seems to me that a "merging of concepts from Fortran and Lisp"
was pretty significant at the time, and this carries through to
the present. Block structure was unique as well, not to mention
'thunking' (a bad idea, but unique).  So I'd include Algol.

Forth steals the 'macro-like' bits, sure, but as a threaded code
interpreter, I'd say it was/is representing something unique.

I'd add a few more that you seem to have hopped over:


I'd pile all the shell/scripty things together in a lump
and include it as Perl, reluctantly.

Seems the last decade or two present little to qualify with.
If you consider Linda a language, rather than just an architecture,
then it probably belongs on the list.  Erlang, maybe.  Eiffel, maybe.

Can't think of anything else with defendable credentials.
Someone ought to put up a fight for ADA, I suppose.  But not me ;-)



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