by K. N. King
History of Programming
Curious about the history of programming and the people who created
the field? Then dig into some of the books listed below, which
are among the best on the topic. If you have a book to recommend,
please email me.
of Programming Languages-II
Edited by T. J. Bergin, Jr., and R. G. Gibson, Jr.
In this proceedings of the Second ACM SIGPLAN
History of Programming Languages Conference, you can find papers
on the history of C and C++ (as well as ALGOL 68, Pascal, Concurrent
Pascal, Ada, Lisp, Prolog, FORMAC, CLU, Smalltalk, Icon, and
Forth), in most cases written by the original language designers.
I attended the conference, which was held in 1993, and wrote
an article about it for Dr. Dobb's
Journal. They also published some of the photos that I took
at the conference (the only time I've had any photos published
in a national magazine!). A similar book was published for the
first History of Programming Languages Conference (held in 1978),
but it is out of print.
to: The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers,
Chess Wizards, Scientists and Iconoclasts who were the Hero Programmers
of the Software Revolution
Basic Books, 2001
This book either has one of the shortest
titles ever or one of the longest; I can't decide which. In any
case, it provides a background look at the creation of FORTRAN,
COBOL, Unix, C, BASIC, Algol, Pascal, C++, Java, and much more.
Written for a nontechnical audience, it is short (250 pages)
and easy to read.
Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software
Microsoft Press, 2000
A masterful history of the computing field
that focuses on the underlying codes (including binary numbers,
machine language, and ASCII) that underly both hardware and software.
of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer
D. Shasha and C. Lazere
The title is pretty much self-explanatory.
The people profiled include a few programming language designers:
John Backus (FORTRAN), John McCarthy (Lisp), and Alan Kay (Smalltalk).
Click on the cover art or title to see
each book's description at Amazon.com. To see a list of best-selling
books on the history of computing at Amazon.com, click on the
Amazon logo below.