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This paper describes some factors in, approaches to, and specific elements of, programming language history. It first lists a number of general factors and approaches which can be used to discuss the history of programming languages. After presenting a life cycle for programming language development, it provides numerous illustrations of programming language history and chronology from many of the viewpoints indicated earlier. There is a brief discussion of relevant literature and a section indicating some of the reasons for the vast proliferation of programming languages. Various charts and lists are included. This paper should be viewed as one approach to considering the history of programming languages, rather than as a history of programming languages per se.
Date of Publication: Jan.-March 1991