The FIRST program I ever CHANGED was on a plugboard for an IBM 407 Accounting Machine (check it out in Google) when I was about 5. My dad brought the board home so he could work on a "program" he was "writing", and he left it in his den along with a bunch of wires. I came along and plugged some wires in and took some out, and took the wires to the living room to show Dad. He asked if I got the wires from the board or off the desk. I told him, and we had a discussion about it. It would be like if someone added lines of code to your program and took some out.
Later, when I was in high school, he and I took a class on RPG (Report Program Generator) on an IBM 360. Don't remember ANYTHING about the language, though I DID place a piece of tissue paper in the card deck to mark the place to fix something. Of course I forgot about that piece of paper until it royally jammed the card reader and the instructor found the remains.
From there it was BASIC, Fortran, assembly, TESLA, C, and onwards.
I program for a hobby. Yeah, I know, insane pick for a hobby. I tell people, "that's how I got this hair line". I'm bald.
I started out on 6502(Commadore64) Basic and Assembly. Well unless you want to count the little bit I did on a thing called the "Wang 3000 Desktop Calculator" with it's 360 available programming steps and all in Assembly Language. Then to MS/BASIC => GW-BASIC => Quick BASIC and that's where the similarity ends. When BASIC was taken to a compiled/Object oreinted style the whole world of basic changed drastically.
It took me several attempts, several books and a few years to "get it".
There is no connection from an interpreted / proceedural language to a Compiled / OOP Language!
I voted no, because my first language was BASIC, and I don't consider it to be much like Visual Basic. Also, in the top 20 list, it was clear that Visual BASIC was not considered the same thing as BASIC either.
Of course they aren't the same language, but ask a kid 30 years ago what they program and they might very well say "BASIC". Nostalgia says, 30 years later, they should have the right to say "I'm writing in VB.NET now, and started in BASIC while ABBA was still touring.
Besides, Wikipedia says "BASIC remains popular in numerous dialects and new languages influenced by BASIC such as Microsoft Visual Basic", and so if Wikipedia makes a link, so am I. It's a long bow to stretch, and dammit, I'm stretching it.
First language was FOCAL on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP8. Talk about squeezing a QUART into a PINT POT! Memory was 4K 12-bit words. Programming via an ASR33 Teletype. You young whipper-snappers don't know you're born! Debugging via the front panel switches and lights. I think I just showed my age here.
4k of RAM, Atari Basic, and saving "code" on a cassette tape. I decided right then and there that I hated Basic, but decided I wanted to be a programmer. I got an Apple //e a couple of years later, and did Pascal on CP/M. That was the first real language I learned, and even got paid to do it on DOS and Windows (back in the day, it was rare that anyone got paid to write in Pascal).
".45 ACP - because shooting twice is just silly" - JSOP, 2010 ----- You can never have too much ammo - unless you're swimming, or on fire. - JSOP, 2010 ----- "Why don't you tie a kerosene-soaked rag around your ankles so the ants won't climb up and eat your candy ass." - Dale Earnhardt, 1997
Have a 5 since I was scouring through here to find someone else who started with Pascal. It was my gateway drug and decided it was what I loved to do. A year later I was on to the harder stuff (C++) and even experimented with some x86 Assembly in college.
JOVIAL (I've always like the acronym: Jule's Own Version of the International Algorithmic Language.)
Looking forward to another 40 years of learning new languages.
Ada was the designated language for the embedded x86 systems but it wasn't ready for prime time, so someone (AF) came up with the idea that JOVIAL was acceptable as an interim design/test language. I've had the same experience with other AF technologies over the years.
It's been fun watching the reinvention of concepts and the gradual assimilation of stuff like functional programming into the "new" languages. FORTH? LISP? ABC?
In the end, it's how we render the algorithm into machine instructions (macro/micro) and how we can make sure our high-level code describes the problem completely, efficiently, and without failures.
FORTRAN II and then FORTRAN IV and then Fortran-77
although my first language was an assembly language I can't even remember the name of, ie. not just "Assembler".
Pascal & Delphi
Basic (a dozen different varieties up to VB.NET)
Rexx (marvelous fun)
Java (a thankfully brief, painful experience)
Oh, and I also invented a couple of languages myself (for specialised applications - more macro languages than anything).
 Oops, I just remembered SQL (does that count as a real language?
also 6502 assembler (and some other assembler languages I can't remember).
and Clipper (for DBase III+) - and a bit of EasyTrieve.
I almost learned APL and Prolog but managed to avoid them by the skin of my teeth.
- Life in the fast lane is only fun if you live in a country with no speed limits.
- Of all the things I have lost, it is my mind that I miss the most.
- I vaguely remember having a good memory...
I am surprised that someone else's first (formally learned) programming language was (or may have been) PL/1. I don't think it ever made the top 20 (I've never seen a single line of non-student code in my life).
Yeah it was an odd language and never used it or saw anyone use it out of class. We learned Pascal shortly after that and it was a much superior language but never used it either. I did use assembly a lot when I first got out of college then quickly taught myself C, C++ and finally C#.
If memory serves, it was an attempt on IBM's part to replace COBOL and Fortran with one language so they would have fewer compilers to support. It had structured programming constructs that neither of the other languages had. I learned it out of curiosity and then ended up using it for one program. I was working on a Wang VS mini-computer and was given a data file to process from an IBM mainframe. It had both 32-bit integer data and packed data. The COBOL compiler couldn't handle the integer values and the C compiler didn't know what packed data was. PL/1 could handle both, or I would have had to write a complex billing report in assembler.
I used SPL which was a PL/1 derivative on the Primos OS - a lot of the systems code was written in SPL and as we had a source code licence I learned it from that (and a Fortran to PL/1 reference book from the library - which had never been taken out before) and developed my first compiler in it. PL/1 was a bit unwieldy but the sub sets such as SPL were often excellent
Don't remember a thing about PL/1 and very little Fortran other than a lot of people on campus used it for math.
My first job out of college was on the Apple II ProDOS OS and assember. Learned a lot that year!
That was my first attempt at programming, the Flag of the World program I remember copying in from a book.
The C64 died when I had just finished writing a simple game, went to fetch my mum to show here, she touched the keyboard and it turned off, never to show any signs of life again.
Cannot remember what we programmed in at school, the machines were all Nimbus and were one of the most advanced schools in the area for computers, remember making a series of teletext pages for one assignment, that may even have been before they got the Nimbus.
At Uni we learnt Modulo-2 and Assembly in the first year, later some C. In the final year we were taught Java and the lecturer confidently said it was the future and we didn't need to know anything else.
Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.