The history of computer application development dates back to the beginning of modern computing in the 1940s. At that time, computer applications were rudimentary and mainly used for complex mathematical calculations and military data processing.
Over time, computer application development expanded and diversified, and in the 1960s and 1970s, the first high-level programming languages such as COBOL and FORTRAN emerged. These programming languages allowed programmers to write code more easily and increased the computer's ability to process information more efficiently.
In the 1980s, computer application development accelerated even further with the popularization of personal computers. Programming languages such as BASIC, C, and Pascal became popular among personal computer programmers, allowing for the development of a large number of computer applications for various purposes, from business accounting to video games.
Today, computer application development continues to advance at an accelerated pace, driven by the growing demand for software for mobile devices and the proliferation of technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Programming languages and software development tools continue to evolve and improve, allowing developers to create more sophisticated and powerful applications to meet the needs of users and the market.
The Beginning: The 1940s and 1950s
Despite the technological limitations of the time, the development of computer applications in the 1940s laid the foundation for the development of increasingly advanced computer technologies in the following decades. The ability of computers to process large amounts of information quickly and efficiently has been crucial for the development of a wide variety of computer applications in different fields, from science and technology to entertainment and business.
In the 1940s, the development of computer applications was mainly focused on programming complex mathematical calculations and processing military data, as part of the war effort during World War II.
One of the early significant developments in this field was the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), built in 1945. The ENIAC was one of the first large-scale electronic computers and was mainly used for ballistic calculations and projectile trajectory. The ENIAC was programmed using a primitive programming language called machine code, which consisted of a series of binary instructions that had to be manually written by programmers.
In the 1950s, new programming languages such as assembly language and FORTRAN emerged, which allowed programmers to write code more easily and efficiently. These programming languages also enabled the creation of more complex and sophisticated programs, further driving the development of computer applications.
The 1960s-1970s: The First High-Level Languages
In the 1960s, several important programming languages were created that are still in use today, such as COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), developed by Grace Hopper in 1959, and BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), developed by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz in 1964. Both programming languages became popular in the 1960s and were widely used for programming business and scientific applications.
The 1960s were an important period in the history of software development, marked by significant advances in computer technology and programming.
Also in the 1960s, multitasking and multiuser operating systems emerged, such as the CTSS (Compatible Time-Sharing System) operating system, developed by MIT in 1961, and the UNIX operating system, developed by AT&T Bell Labs in 1969. These operating systems allowed multiple users to access a central computer simultaneously and run programs on it, laying the foundation for the creation of computer networks and the development of distributed applications.
In 1966, the first database management systems were created, such as the IBM IMS (Information Management System) in 1966, which allowed companies to store and manage large amounts of information efficiently and securely.
In the 1970s, several high-level programming languages emerged, such as Pascal, developed by Niklaus Wirth in 1970, and C, developed by Dennis Ritchie in 1972. Both programming languages became very popular and are still used today for programming applications of all kinds.
Additionally, in the 1970s, significant advances were made in computer technology, such as the creation of the first microprocessors, which allowed for the creation of personal computers and the popularization of computing worldwide.
Also in the 1970s, the first software development methodologies emerged, such as Edsger Dijkstra's structured programming methodology, which advocated for the creation of well-structured and easily understandable programs, and Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister's team software development methodology, which emphasized the importance of collaboration and communication among development team members.
The 1980s: The Explosion of Computing
The 1980s were a period of continued growth and innovation in software development, with increased specialization in areas such as artificial intelligence and business computing. Personal computers began to gain popularity, leading to the development of operating systems and application software for these machines.
In 1981, the IBM PC was released, which became the de facto standard for personal computing and is still the foundation of many computer systems today. One of the most popular operating systems of the 1980s was MS-DOS, developed by Microsoft. In 1985, Microsoft released Windows 1.0, which became the leading operating system for personal computers worldwide. Another important operating system was Unix, which became one of the preferred options for enterprise systems.
As for programming languages, the 1980s saw the emergence of a series of new languages, such as C++, developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1983. C++ combined object-oriented programming with the existing C language and became one of the most popular programming languages of the 1990s. Also in this decade, languages like Objective-C, developed by Brad Cox and Tom Love, and Object Pascal appeared. These languages laid the foundation for the development of modern programming languages such as Java and C#.
In addition to operating systems and programming languages, the 1980s also saw the emergence of a series of software development tools, such as Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools. These tools helped automate much of the software development process, from documentation to implementation. Database management systems, such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, were also developed, which helped improve efficiency in managing large amounts of enterprise data.In 1983, Richard Stallman initiated the GNU project to develop a completely free and open-source operating system, paving the way for the free software movement. In 1986, American computer scientist Frederick Brooks published his book "The Mythical Man-Month," which addresses the complexity and challenges of software development in teams and popularized the concept of "Brooks' Law."
It was at the end of the decade, specifically in 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee proposed the concept of the World Wide Web, which would revolutionize the way people interact and exchange information online.
Overall, the 1980s were a period of intense growth and diversification in software development, with significant advances in areas such as object-oriented programming, operating systems, and information technologies in general. The authors and creators mentioned above had a significant impact on the development of these technologies and how we use them today.
The 1990s: the birth of web applications
Another important trend in the 1990s was the widespread adoption of object-oriented programming. The programming language Java, developed by James Gosling and his colleagues at Sun Microsystems, was one of the most influential programming languages of the decade. Java was designed to be a portable programming language that could run on any hardware platform and operating system. The portability of Java and its use in the development of web and server applications made it one of the most popular and widely used programming languages in the world.
Another important development in the 1990s was the emergence of agile software development methodologies, which focused on flexibility and adaptability rather than the rigidity of earlier software development models. Although it would not be until 2001 when the Agile Manifesto, drafted by a group of software development experts in 2001, defined the core principles and values of the agile methodology.
The 1990s also saw the emergence of software engineering, a discipline that focuses on the application of engineering principles to the creation and development of software. One of the most important figures in the development of software engineering was Barry Boehm, who developed the Capability Maturity Model for Software Engineering (CMM), a framework for evaluating and improving organizations' ability to develop software.
From 2000 to the present
Since the year 2000, software development has experienced a significant boom, with the emergence of new technologies and methodologies that have revolutionized the way applications are developed and delivered. Some of the most notable events of this period include:
- The emergence of agile methodologies: In the early 2000s, agile methodologies emerged, proposing a more collaborative and flexible approach to software development. The Agile Manifesto, written in 2001 by a group of software developers, laid the foundations for these methodologies, including Scrum, XP, and Kanban.
- The rise of open source software: The open source software movement has gained great popularity in the last decade, driven by projects such as Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. These technologies have proven to be highly efficient and reliable, and have contributed to democratizing access to software development tools.
- The emergence of new delivery models: With the popularization of web technologies and the adoption of agile methodologies, new software delivery models have emerged, such as DevOps and Continuous Delivery. These models propose a continuous and automated delivery of software, allowing companies to speed up the delivery of new features and reduce time to market.
- The popularity of cloud services: Cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, have transformed the way software is stored and accessed. These services allow developers to quickly and efficiently access high-quality resources and tools, making it easier to create scalable and secure applications.
Any list of influential people in this field will fall short, but it should certainly include the following individuals, whose works and efforts have served as a guide and inspiration to millions of people around the world:
- Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, creators of the Scrum methodology.
- Martin Fowler, author of numerous books on agile methodologies and software design patterns.
- Kent Beck, creator of the Extreme Programming (XP) methodology.
- James Gosling, creator of the Java programming language.
- Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel.
- Eric Evans, author of the book "Domain-Driven Design," which proposes a methodology for software design focused on the business domain.
- Gene Kim, author of "The Phoenix Project" and "The DevOps Handbook," which have popularized the DevOps and Continuous Delivery models.