The PL/I Programming Language

Click below to go directly to a specific section:
History | Significant Language Features | Areas of Application | Sample Programs
Related Links | Printed References | Acknowledgements


PL/1 was developed as an IBM product in the mid 1960's, and was originally named NPL (New Programming Language). The name was changed to PL/1 to avoid confusion of NPL with the National Physical Laboratory in England. If the compiler had been developed outside of the United Kingdom, the name may have remained PL/1.

Until the time this new language was developed, all previous languages had focused on one particluar area of application, such as science, artificial intelligence, or business. PL/1 was not designed to be used in the same way. It was the first large-s cale attempt to design a language that could be used in a variety of application areas.

Significant Language Features

PL/1 had the following significant language features:

Areas of Application

PL/1 was used significantly in both business and scientific applications. It was also the main language taught at the University of Michigan Dearborn for a period of time. However, it's popularity has declined in recent years, due to the introduction of newer programming languages.

These are a few of the places were PL/1 was/is used:

Sample Programs

Related Links

Printed References

  1. Rich, Robert P. Internal Sorting Methods Illustrated with PL/I Programs. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1972.
  2. Sebesta, Robert W. Concepts of Programming Languages. 3rd ed. Menlo Park: Addison-Wesley, 1996.


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