Go To: the story of the math majors, bridge players, engineers, chess wizards, maverick scientists and iconoclasts – the programmers who created the software revolution by Steve Lohr (Basic Books, 2001).
As the title indicates, this history of programming languages by Steve Lohr, a technology editor for The New York Times, focuses on the people who created the languages. The term “software” was first used in 1958, so this book really tells the entire story of software from the late 1940s up to 2001. In most cases there were one or two main creators, often working for research labs in companies or universities, and a few assistants. The story is told chronologically, so readers can see the context in which each language developed and how they built on each other. Covering all the major and minor programming languages, from COBOL and FORTRAN to BASIC and Pascal to C++ and Java, Lohr provides valuable documentation of recent history that might otherwise be lost. It is also a very interesting book about some fascinating personalities, many business successes and some failures, and the story behind our software-dominated present.