The Contents of an Entry


An explanation of the language name, which in perhaps 80% of the cases is some form of acronym or abbreviation.

Date of origin:

The year when a language first appeared. Since the design, implementation and distribution of a language can take place over a period of several years, such dates are often approximate. Any language that has an ANSI, ISO or BSI standard should include the date approved. For commercial products such as Turbo Pascal the release dates of each version can be listed.


Preferably two references on the language, one as definitive as possible, the other an introduction.


Web site, ftp site, commercial source or publisher, along with contacts for further information.

"See also:"

Related languages or terms that may also be of interest.

Any material marked with brackets "[ ]" is doubtful and may be considered a request for further information.

Editorial Comments -

What constitutes a good language has often become the subject of intense debate. We've tried to sidestep this issue by avoiding any subjective remarks, such as calling a language "powerful". Nevertheless some comments might still be construed this way. For instance saying that Pascal is "ALGOL-like" could offend both some ALGOL and some Pascal users. Also, some questions of historical origin are not universally agreed upon.

Classification -

It's been suggested that the languages in this list should be arranged into categories, but to do so would be extremely difficult. For every classification scheme there wlll be a large proportion of languages that do not fit. The languages are therefore listed alphabetically, and in fact we think that this is the most useful organization. You'll find that certain categories have been referred to in the list, but we must emphasize that most languages are not purely one or the other, and we are really categorizing language features.