Origin of programming languages names

Python does not refer to a snake, but Perl does refer to the jewel Pearl. Here is the list of the best known names and their origin.

The choice of name is not always highly sought after. For example APL stands for A Programming Language, while PL / 1 means Programming Language No. 1. But other names have an origin sometimes unexpected ...


In tribute to Ada Lovelace, perhaps the first person to have programmed a computer, the Babbage Analytical Engine. She left notes describing a general purpose algorithm that could run on a modern computer.

Monty vs Python


This language designed for extraction of data and reports from texts, dates from 1977. It stands for Aho, Weinberger, Kernighan (Brian). The latter is also one of the creators of Unix and co-author of the first C manual.

B and BCPL

Basic Combined Programming Language was created in 1966 in Cambridge by Martin Richards. The name has been further shortened to B, and it will be the beginning of many languages ​​in one letter or braces...
It was a simplified version of CPL (Combined Programming Language), designed to facilitate the compilation, which has contributed to its wider adoption.


Dennis Ritchie invented this language derived from BCPL to build the Unix system. It was named "New B" before being renamed C, the letter following B in the alphabet.


Bjarne Stroustrup first called this language "C with Classes" and then "New C", but this has led to C being called "old C", which displeased programmers in the C language.
The name C++ was then suggested to Stroustrup, in reference to the increment operator: C++ it is an increment to the C language. This time it could only please C programmers who love cabalistic symbols.


Created by Google in 2013, originally to replace JavaScript - but the goal has evolved since. It had first be called Dash, referring perhaps to the # in C#, but then the word Dart was chosen because it evokes agility and speed.

La Java


It was created in 1986 by Ericsson, hence ERicsson LANGage. But this also comes from Agner Krarup Erlang, a Danish mathematician who created the telephone network analysis, Ericsson's activity.


James Gosling in 1995 named his first language D, to denote that it succeeded to C. But he was reminded that D is the lowest rating on a report card in American schools, so he renamed it Oak, because he saw a such tree from his office window. Fortunately, his colleagues at Sun have pointed out to him that there was already a language of that name and he had to find another one. One can imagine the number of programmers who would have been called an acorn!
A list of possible names was drawn up in which the team chose Java (which is synonymous with coffee in English) because everyone here drinks coffee.


Brendan Eich, Netscape employee who also loved coffee and the Java language, in December 1995 had called his language Mocha (sort of coffee with latte and chocolate) but then changed the name to LiveScript to highlight its dynamic features.
As this time Netcape also added Java in the browser, so it was renamed JavaScript.
The confusion between the two languages ​​remains to this day among beginners.


Niklaus Wirth contributed to the creation of the Algol language, then created his version, Algol W (as Wirth). But he wanted a language that would be easy to compile and in 1970 he written a static version he named in honor of the mathematician Blaise Pascal. Pascal invented the first calculating machine, the Pascaline.


The Australian Larry Wall wanted to give his language a positive connotation and chose the name Pearl. The culture of pearl oysters is a specialty of Australia. The language was in his mind a jewel, not a view shared by all programmers. But there was a language already with that name, also he had to change, and he has shortened it in Perl.
Different acronyms were invented later to explain the name but unrelated to its true origin.


Rasmus Lerdorf never imagined that the language he invented for his own use will (unfortunately) become so popular: it was originally an acronym for Personal Home Page!
The developers who have created a commercial company to manage the language then renamed it PHP Hypertext Preprocessor to avoid this amateurish connotation.


Guido van Rossum was a fan of the television series Monty Python's Flying Circus, which is why he chose the name in 1991 to the Python language, derived from the ABC scripting language. But it is the snake that is the most often believe as being the source of the name. There is even an IDE for Python named Boa Constructor.
Finally the creator of the language renounced to explain that Python does not refer to the snake and even adopted the image of a snake for the logo (stylized thereafter).


Yukihiro Matsumoto was a Perl and Python user. He wanted to create a language that has the capabilities of the first and the simplicity of the second, and which is also object-oriented. It was also to be a gem and Ruby was suggested by a friend.


The final version of the language by Mozilla appears in 2015 (its development started in 2006) without official explanation about the name by the authors, not even in the FAQ. That's not the name that you would give to a language, especially if one produces a browser whose interface is called "chrome"! Unless the company has a red logo for dinosaur and its browser to have a fox logo, whose color is red...
But it is also the name of a mushroom and the fact is that language is a little psychedelic.


Alan Kay has created this language in 1972 (the year of C) with other researchers, with the aim of making programming natural and more human. Small talk gives the idea that programming is an ordinary occupation, accessible even to children.


Launched in 2014 by Apple for the development on its computers and mobile, its name is equivalent to "agile". It wants to make programming more flexible , interactive.

See also ...