There’s a trend on Twitter for web developers to publish a short list of programming languages in 6 categories. I’ve decided to make four lists.
Student – 1976 to 1979
- First (proper) language: Algol W
- Had difficulties: Simula
- Most used: Pascal
- Totally hate: LISP
- Loved: Pascal
- For beginners: n/a
I studied computer science at Imperial college. I used IBM punch machines to write my code and fed it into a card reader. The Model 129 did EBCDIC. You could see the characters you typed on the top line. There were also Model 029 machines which could only do BCD. If you wanted an EBCDIC character you had to choose multi-punch, at which point the character on the top line became unreadable.
Before using the punch card machine I wrote all my code on green line paper, in pencil. The convention for Algol W and Pascal was to underline reserved words. I wasn’t aware of any coding standards. I remember one assignment where I named half of the functions in French.
I didn’t know it at the time but I believe Simula was the first Object Oriented language that I encountered.
They tried to teach us other languages: Prolog, Fortran, COBOL. I don’t remember ever learning BASIC, even though it was around. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_programming_languages
IBM – 30 something years – to 2009
- First (proper) language: PL/I
- Had difficulties: C++
- Most used: C
- Totally hate: Java, Python
- Loved: REXX, iSPF/PDF
- For beginners: REXX
When I first started at IBM we had to share dumb terminals. The IBM Model 3270 had an 80 by 24 character screen. We mostly typed our code in UPPERCASE. It wasn’t until the mid 80s that I started writing code in mixed case. We were writing screen scaping code. Whereas the code running on the PC was written in C or Turbo Pascal, on the mainframe it was still being written in PL/I. We made a compromise with the PL/I. The code had to remain in CAPS, but my comments were allowed to be ASIS.
Even though I’d loved using iSPF/PDF in my mainframe days, where the code needed to be indented in order to work ( there was no ELSE capability ), I never understood why anyone would actually want to design a language like this. But in the mid 2000’s I came across Python. Yuck!
REXX was my language of choice for any scripting. Much easier than DOS commands and available on nearly all IBM operating systems. I never really got the hang of ooREXX ( Open Object REXX ) though.
Even though my initials are RPG I’ve never touched the language.
When I’m not at a computer I scribble code using the gold Cross propelling pencil I received as part of an Admin Achievement Award in 1983.
Post retirement – 2009 onwards
- First (proper) language: PHP
- Most used: PHP
- Totally hate: *nix based shell scripts
- Loved: PHP – still do I suppose
- For beginners: see below
Whilst the above are considered to be programming languages there are many more things that you need to know in order to do web development. The next sections attempts to cover these.
Not programming languages per se
- First language: HTML
- Had difficulties: jQuery, ReactJS, node.js
- Most used: HTML
- Totally hate: CSS
- Loved: CSS
- For beginners: CSS
- First: WAMP – Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP
- Had difficulties: XML, CSS preprocessors, composer
- Most used: HTML, git
- Totally hate: Linux
- Loved: REXX – I finally stopped using it
- For beginners: WordPress with Gutenberg blocks
I use DOS commands to invoke PHP routines. I don’t use Windows PoweShell or any *nix based shell scripts
PS. I’ve published this as a work in progress. I’m testing some new logic in my oik-clone plugin. For the latest development version see bobbingwide/oik-clone.