Computer.Is there anyone around who has not really used this machine.Well,the fact that you are reading these words is an indication that you are in front of the display of your computing system.
So now,what do you think makes the computer so special that it has become the most widely used gadget thus far on the planet,most probably after the wrist watch.It is the ability of the system to do certain tasks on its own with minimal or no human intervention.The intelligence that has been built into these digital machines is primarily done by what we call the programming.Programming is a task of building the logic (digital at present and probably quantum logic in the future) and embedding this logic into the hardware.This embedding part is also said to burning onto the hardware.
Programming has evolved a long way.Initially all the logic was hardwired.i.e there was no software as such.However,this technique was limited since it made the system application specific and incorporating any modifications was impossible.From this stage,something called Assembly Language programming has evolved.The word "Assembly" here refers to a very low level of programming.i.e embedding intelligence closer to the hardware layer of the system...i.e the system here is still hardware predominant.At this stage around 1979 at AT & T Bell Labs,there was a break through, a programming language called "C" has been developed.It made the programming that much more easier and made the computers applications easy to develop.The "C" Language made interacting with the hardware and embedding intelligence so much easier that programming has become a software phenomena.It was used in the development of almost every application one can think of including Operating Systems.
The "C" Language has been a turning point in the computer programming.It made the computer industry much more available to common people.It was easy to learn and even a school kid can use it to develop his/her own application.From here on,most of the programming packages are on the basis of this language.Next came C++,which was more or less C except for the fact that it incorporated object oriented programming concepts,which made the development of business applications more easier than C.
Around 1990s,there was a tremendous activity all around with internet around and a scope available with this new platform.Java has announced its arrival with its applications based on internet.This is probably the first of its kind in the sense that a Java application is platform independent.Its something new and Java was hot and I should "is" hot even now.
Microsoft,the leader in computer software domain was initially focused on desktop application development using its Visual Studio package.It did not make much impact on web application domain until it has come out with C#(read as C Sharp).Microsoft could lay hands on web domain only after it could get its .NET framework out and released its Visual Studio package.Now,the Microsoft has been working on these software and releasing updates regularly as does Sun micro systems for Java.
Java and Visual Studio made programming so much more easier( here I refer to development of business applications) because of many built-in libraries.Both these packages and object oriented.The developer's skill lies in identifies the libraries needed for the particular application and using them.
However,for embedded applications there is literally no competition to C.Embedded applications are those that are application specific like the washing machines,remote controls,etc.
I hope this gives you some insight into programming and how the programming has evolved from its infancy days of hardware centric coding.Please share your thoughts and comments ,if any.I would be glad to hear from you.