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The ALGOL Family

It's difficult to define the ALGOL family of languages, because pretty much all modern languages inherit at least something from ALGOL—even if it's just lexical scoping. Some languages, such as C, are obviously members of the ALGOL family. You can almost turn a C program into an ALGOL program just by performing some simple lexical substitutions.

Other languages are a little harder to place. C++ inherits a lot from Simula, which we'll look at in part 2 of this series. Java inherits a lot from Smalltalk. Both Smalltalk and Simula were heavily influenced by ALGOL—in fact, Simula has very ALGOL-like syntax, although C++ doesn't. All of these languages can be convincingly called "ALGOL-family languages." In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a modern language in widespread use that isn't part of the ALGOL family, although some are fairly remote descendants.

Coming Up Next

In the next article of this series we will tackle Simula.

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