How Programming Languages Got Their Name: Part 1: Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, Kotlin & Swift

Posted by I. B. Gd Pramana A. Putra, 13 Jul 22, last updated 18 Oct 22

Names in programming languages do tend to inherit their names from older programming languages. Just as C# for example inherits its logical and behavior structure from C++ programming language, and C++ also inherits its logical structure from C.

In addition to deriving inheritance, every programming language also has a non-standard rule that its name are mostly short and easy-to-remember is something that always happens.



The Java programming language was originally developed by James Gosling when he was an employee at Sun Microsystems in the early 90s. The project was originally referred to as 'Oak' before it was officially changed to 'Java' during a caffeine-based discussion (Ngopi).

Java or Jawa is one of the largest islands in Indonesia, its name is taken from the Sanskrit word yavadvip. The word Java itself has been the name for coffee in the United States since 1800.



Programmer from Netherlands, Guido van Rossum developed Python in 1991 and named it not because of the inspiration from Python Snake, but this name he got from the original comedy group. England named Monty Python's Flying Circus.



Programming Language Ruby created by Japanese developer Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto in 1990. Inspired by Perl, he also wanted to name his programming language with a name that's elegant and easy to pronounce, hence he named this language as "Ruby".



Perl was created by an American developer named Larry Wall in 1987. He chose the name "Pearl" because this word is very easy to remember and fosters a positive sense. However, it turned out that at that time the name "Pearl" was already in use, so it was changed from "Pearl" to "Perl".

The acronym for PERL is Practical Extraction and Reporting Language. And the name "Pearl" is an inspiration from the French perle which means "something precious" or if in Latin perna which means lamb.



Kotlin is a programming language developed by JetBrains from 2011, its name is taken from an island in Russia called Kotlin Island.

The development team wanted to name their programming language like Java, which got its name from an island in Indonesia.



Actually, no one knows for sure why Apple gave the name Swift to its newest programming language. It is possible that Apple gave the name Swift, because Swift means 'to move at high speed or velocity'. The logo of the Swift programming language is taken from the swift bird in the 17th century.

Source: Trust Me Bro!

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