1957-2007: 50 Years of Higher Order Programming Languages


  • Alen Lovrenčić University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varazdin
  • Mario Konecki University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varaždin
  • Tihomir Orehovački University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varaždin


Programming languages, Programming paradigms, History


Fifty years ago one of the greatest breakthroughs in computer programming and in the history of computers happened -- the appearance of FORTRAN, the first higher-order programming language. From that time until now hundreds of programming languages were invented, different programming paradigms were defined, all with the main goal to make computer programming easier and closer to as many people as possible. Many battles were fought among scientists as well as among developers around concepts of programming, programming languages and paradigms. It can be said that programming paradigms and programming languages were very often a trigger for many changes and improvements in computer science as well as in computer industry. Definitely, computer programming is one of the cornerstones of computer science.

Today there are many tools that give a help in the process of programming, but there is still a programming tasks that can be solved only manually. Therefore, programming is still one of the most creative parts of interaction with computers.

Programmers should chose programming language in accordance to task they have to solve, but very often, they chose it in accordance to their personal preferences, their beliefs and many other subjective reasons.

Nevertheless, the market of programming languages can be merciless to languages as history was merciless to some people, even whole nations. Programming languages and developers get born, live and die leaving more or less tracks and successors, and not always the best survives.

The history of programming languages is closely connected to the history of computers and computer science itself. Every single thing from one of them has its reflexions onto the other. This paper gives a short overview of last fifty years of computer programming and computer programming languages, but also gives many ideas that influenced other aspects of computer science. Particularly, programming paradigms are described, their intentions and goals, as well as the most of the significant languages of all paradigms.

Author Biography

Alen Lovrenčić, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varazdin

Associate Professor




How to Cite

A. Lovrenčić, M. Konecki, and T. Orehovački, “1957-2007: 50 Years of Higher Order Programming Languages”, J. inf. organ. sci. (Online), vol. 33, no. 1, Jul. 2009.