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Poll: First Programming Language?

My coworker asked me this question, and began asking a few others in a couple IRC channels. So, I thought I'd extend it to my blog, and the planets that I syndicate. I added as many choices as I could hoping to see a wide array of votes. I added a few newer languages for the younger audience.

For me, my first language that I sat down and learned in a formal setting was Java. However, I had TI, Casio, and HP calculators, as well as an Atari 800 that I would fiddle with, and program. So, Basic was really the first language that I toyed with. I just never sat down, and took the time to "learn" it.

So, for all the programmers, coders, script kiddies and developers out there, what is the 1st programming language that you learned? If applicable, leave a comment specifying the system that you learned the language on.

What was the 1st programming language that you learned?
View Results

{ 46 } Comments

  1. Jure Repinc | March 13, 2007 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    My first was REXX on OS/2 Warp 4, then I used the one on HP48GX calculator and after that I jumped to C++ with Qt on Linux.

  2. Andrew McCarthy | March 13, 2007 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Started with Basic on the Commodore 64 over twenty years ago, before eventually moving to GWBasic on a 8086. Through primary school I also used Logo and Prolog, although never really used them since. The first language I learned that I'm still using now is C, which began when I got a second-hand 286 in 1994 (I think).

  3. tntntn | March 13, 2007 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    My first language was Pascal on Macintosh System 7. Unfortunately I can't remember the IDE/compiler I used.

  4. seele | March 13, 2007 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    We had Apple IIe's when I was in grade school. In between Number Munchers and Oregon Trail we were given lessons in BASIC programming.

  5. AC | March 13, 2007 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    basic on a sinclair QL.

  6. Morten Amundsen | March 13, 2007 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    68000 assembler on the Amiga 500

  7. Marius Gedminas | March 13, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Before I was introduced to programming I used to draw ASCII art in a text editor (kedit on MS-DOS). My father showed me how to convert that to a FoxBase program to draw that art on screen. My first programs were ASCII animations that consisted solely of print (SAY in FoxBase) and delay statements.

    After that I got a Pascal book.

  8. Raffaele | March 13, 2007 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    basic on a amstrad cpc464

  9. Noah | March 13, 2007 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I played around with Logo and BASIC, but the first language I actually learned was Pascal (Borland Turbo Pascal on DOS).

    I took a class in Pascal a few years later (1997, my first year of high school) and got kicked out of the class for playing games during the lecture. Never mind the fact that I had written said games not an hour earlier and knew the language a bit better than the instructor.

    I haven't used Pascal since that class, though; the first language that I learned and still use would be C++, which I also had a class on in high school.

  10. Stoffe | March 13, 2007 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Basic on the Commodore C=64 came first, so that's what I voted. However, I don't think I did any *real* programming until I switched to assembly soon thereafter. πŸ˜‰

    After that, I learned some C after a few years of not coding, then a few years pause more, learned Java, then Perl, and now I'm doing mostly Ruby, with the occassional sprinkling of at least reading some code in the others, as well as Python, C#, bash and so on.

    Trying to find time to look into functional languages more, Haskell and friends are very intriguing, and I'd like to know more.

    As to the last language I'll actually learn (thoroughly) I'm currently positive that will be Python. It's a horrible, inconsequent kludge much similar to Visual Basic, and while you can do things quickly in it, that's possible and easier to maintain in several others (again, like VB). The OO is clearly bolted on on the side and the API is a mess (see join, split, len for but one example).

    Another reason is that some Python people go to the same fanatics school as some Apple people - doesn't matter if the product is fantastic when the users are loud zealots, all of them. You can have your language, fine, but please, in silence until you've actually looked at the others.

  11. jw | March 13, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Basic topping the list... why oh why am I not surprised. I started, like so many here, on a C64. A friend and I were reprogramming "Bruce Lee" we could beat the game.

  12. MeneK | March 13, 2007 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    BASIC on an Amstrad CPC464. I see that I'm not the only one!

  13. a1l3n | March 13, 2007 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Basic on a Trash80 Model 1 with cassette tape drive.

  14. Fabian Rodriguez | March 13, 2007 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Where's LOGO ?!

  15. Haschek | March 13, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    My father introduced me to dBase in 1990 or '91 (and I still have my very first lines of code on paper), later I switched to Basic πŸ™‚ Both on a i286 with 16MHz, a 40 MB disc, 5.25 floppy and a Hercules graphic card ...

  16. Steve Stalcup | March 13, 2007 at 1:25 pm | Permalink



  17. Jonas | March 13, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    A language called COMAL, which is a Pascal/BASIC hybrid, it turns out. On 286. Around '93. I don't remember a thing of it today.

  18. Igor | March 13, 2007 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    C rocks!!!...

    Then Python Rocks!!!

    Now Python Rocks!!!

  19. Mike | March 13, 2007 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Stoffe: you sure are loud and whiney for a non-zealot πŸ™‚ .

  20. Igor | March 13, 2007 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I forgot:

    Using GCC in Dev-cpp IDE of course on windows πŸ™

    After that I move on to Linux

  21. Mike | March 13, 2007 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    oh, Basic on an Apple ][ then Pascal, C++, C, Fortran, Perl, PHP, and Python. Lots of shell scripting intermixed.

  22. Aaron | March 13, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Stoffe- Python is a great language. Coming from a first language of OOP design from the start (Java), Python is doing things correctly. You want to talk a hacked OOP design, look at the implementations in Perl and PHP. Python is coding bliss.

    Fabian- No LOGO. Sorry. That's one of the languages that has fallen in the "Other" category. COBOL, FORTRAN and others as well.

    Igor- I have spent many a day and night in Dev/C++ on Windows. Good IDE.

  23. BluJai | March 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    HyperTalk ... the HyperCard programming language. Boy was that fun.
    HyperCard was a Macintosh application which, in the early 90s, provided school students like me the opportunity to learn programming on a Mac Plus. Boy, those 8 MHz machines could really fly!

  24. Ralesk | March 13, 2007 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Okay, BASIC really, but I don’t wanna count my Commodore 64 (as much as I love it) β€” it was more playing than actually understanding what I’m doing.

    So I voted Pascal.

  25. StΓ©phan K. | March 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    HyperTalk. πŸ™‚

  26. Daniel | March 13, 2007 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Python was my first language written in emacs, can't remember the version, pre 1.5 i think.
    This would of been on a computer running debian 2.0 (Hamm) i think and fvwm2 as the window manager on a computer dual booting into windows but as linux developed its gotten more use (and with ubuntu, windows i'm happy to say is hardly touched except for work and when out the house)

    Wow a lot has changed since, went on from python to C and then Assembly.

  27. Joey Day | March 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I voted BASIC, but an earlier comment just reminded me that I learned LOGO long before I learned BASIC.

  28. nerowolfe | March 13, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    BASIC on C=64.. When I had got my first PC with windows 3.1 (I was 9) I started using VB3. But the first language I've learned the right way (from a book) is C.

  29. Miles | March 13, 2007 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    GWBasic on a Commodore128.

  30. Hez | March 13, 2007 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    GWBASIC on an AT&T 8088 (or maybe an 8086...).

    Followed a while later by Turbo Pascal... and the list has grown sporadically since.

  31. Morgan | March 13, 2007 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    BASIC on a BBC Model B - although I had some contact with Logo before that, but it doesn't qualify as programming as I didn't learn any control structures... just FD 100 RT 90 type of stuff!

  32. NiKo | March 14, 2007 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Basic on a Thomson MO5.

    10 PRINT Hello
    20 PRINT World
    30 GOTO 10

  33. leopold faschalek | March 14, 2007 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    my first prog. language was FOCAL on a PDP-8e followed by FORTRAN on an IBM Mainframe, both back in school around 1974-76.

    later followed Commodore Basic and 6502 assembler.

    now its C / C++ / C# and Java

  34. Steve | March 14, 2007 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Basic on the local college system, used at upper school via acoustic coupler to our teletype! Later Basic on BBC Micro, Pascal at Uni. Various others since then

  35. Donk | March 14, 2007 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    68000 assembler

  36. Xubuntix | March 14, 2007 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    We had Borland Delphi ( I think it's some sort of Pascal) in School, of cause on Windows.
    In University we first learned Scheme.
    Today I maily use Perl and C, of cause on Linux only πŸ™‚

  37. Aaron | March 14, 2007 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Basic is the obvious winner on this poll, which I figured would happen. It's interesting to see how the rest of the languages play out, though. I figured C would have been more popular as a first language, then Pascal, for example.

  38. Gary | March 14, 2007 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    My first language was BASIC on an Atari 800. After that came BASIC and Turbo Pascal on the Apple II, and then BASIC and Turbo Pascal on the early IBM PCs.

  39. Karl Lattimer | March 14, 2007 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I first started on basic at the age of 8 on a BBC model B microcomputer. Those were the days, but if Logo really is a programming language I learned that too, although logo I learned in about 20 minutes basic took a while longer. After years without my own computer the next time I had a machine to work on I played with QBASIC on windows 95, shortly followed by C/C++ using Borland Turbo C++ V3 (now that was a great language DOS meant a different thing back then). Moving on I was forced to 'learn' pascal but as I already worked in C it was more of a translation of skills to an inferior language. I went on to learn perl then php, then python, although in between I've spent time in java, javascript, bash, prolog, vb and so so many others. What I've learned from this, they're all basically the same, except for basic, which is crap.

  40. phoenyx | March 14, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The first programming language I learned was BASIC (on a TI 99/4A), but the first programming language I ever did anything cool with was Hypertalk.

  41. Pharao | March 15, 2007 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    my first one was Q-Basic (MSDos) on a Cyrix 100MHZ 4MB Ram Peacock Notebook of my dad

  42. Web Monster | March 15, 2007 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    My first was Compass Assembler on a Control Data Cyber 6600.

  43. cygnl7 | March 15, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Basic on an Apple IIc running ProDOS. Most of it was me, as a kid, copying code out of books but I did try to learn it. Those were the days.

  44. Michael Hoskins | March 23, 2007 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    BASIC on the Commodore 64, then to the Apple IIe. Like cygnl7 above, I tried using the code from 3-2-1 Contact, then found a book on sprite programming for the C-64.

  45. Dais | September 9, 2007 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    My first was BASIC on Vector-06C, an old soviet PC with CPU analog of 8088.

  46. Grant Anderson | October 1, 2007 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    As a freshman engineering major I bought the programming manual for my HP48gx calculator. I liked programming it more than any other work I was doing. I got such bad grades I switched to Computer Science the next year.

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