Most popular programming languages 1965-2019 (visualised)

Patrick Schluter Patrick.Schluter at
Sat Oct 12 18:20:15 UTC 2019

On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 12:00:38 UTC, Chris wrote:
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 11:23:34 UTC, IGotD- wrote:
>> This is actually an urban legend. The applications that needed 
>> most of performance in the 1980s were mostly written C 
>> (Borland C was really popular during the 80s) with a few 
>> optimized parts done in assembler. Very few programs were done 
>> in pure assembler. There wasn't any need to write everything 
>> in assembler except certain optimized loops.
>> It is simple check this as you can just search your old DOS 
>> .exe file for Borland for example and you will be surprised 
>> how many DOS programs used C during the 80s.
>> I suspect as previously mentioned that this survey is based on 
>> large companies. Ada has a suspiciously large cut during the 
>> 80s. Also what is based on? Per worker, per product, per 
>> company? Ada was probably big during the 80s because it was 
>> the height of the cold war but still a bit too high I think.
> Big corporations still widely used Assembly in the 80ies (the 
> suicide rates where highest among assembly programmers - no 
> joke). Some people thought that C wasn't that different so why 
> bother? However, it soon became clear that a. if the Assembly 
> programmer left (or killed himself), nobody else could make 
> sense of the program and b. although C was 10% slower, 
> squeezing out the last 10% wasn't worth it (law of diminishing 
> returns). I have it on good authority that the civil service 
> still uses assembler in certain areas (revenue). I wonder why?

It depended also on the CPU used. Programming something big in 
x86 assembly is akin to torture, for m68k not so much. There were 
companies that built big software packages in pure assembler on 
the m68k machines. On the Atari ST for example, there was the 
company CCD who wrote the best programming editor of the platform 
Tempus in ASM. They also built Tempus Word, a full featured text 
processing suite which was so much better than Microsoft of the 
time, and all written in pure assembly.

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