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Context : ProgrammingLanguages

Quora Answer : What programming languages are, or were, ahead of their time?

Oct 11, 2018

Alan Kay said it best : "the best way to predict the future is to invent it".

There are a bunch of languages from the 60s and 70s : Lisp, Smalltalk, Prolog, Forth, Scheme, C which more or less encapsulate and define an entire paradigm of programming. Of course, there are precursors to these languages. And there are successors to them.

But these have become the epitome of their paradigms or genres : Lisp is Lisp. Smalltalk is the ideal of OO. Prolog of relational / logic programming. Forth as minimal concatenative. C as the original practical low-level structured imperative language. Scheme is Lisp on minimal foundations.

All of these paradigms are still being explored. And, apart from maybe C, none of them have really reached their full potential.

Most mainstream popular languages since then have basically been derivatives of C borrowing a few ideas from Smalltalk and / or Lisp.

So any of these languages is both of its time. The ideas that led it were already around then. But also "ahead of its time" in that we may yet see ideas it contains become much more widely known and used in the future.

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