Most popular programming languages 1965-2019 (visualised)

Patrick Schluter Patrick.Schluter at
Sat Oct 12 18:26:23 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?

As I already said in my previous post, it depends on the 
architecture and the culture of the platform. I was, for 
instance, when I was still consultant in Luxembourg at Deloitte, 
proposed a mission in a German bank to program in assembly on 
mainframes. Apparently, it is still quite common to program the 
big iron IBM mainframes (Z server) in assembler. The IBM macro 
assembler are so advanced that they allow for quite high level 
constructs that make programming with it not much different than 
programming COBOL or even C.

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