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In the early days of computing, the 1950s and 1960s, an autocode was a particular type of simplified programming language. Experts also referred to certain high-level programming languages with compiler implementation as “autocode” languages — for example, COBOL and FORTRAN were thought of as early versions of autocode languages. There were also other forms of autocodes named after computers of the day, such as Mercury autocode and Atlas autocode.
In addition to specific assembly languages, programmers used autocode languages with early types of industrial and research computers in the 1950s and 1960s. This led to some controversy over which types of languages were more useful — for instance, in the online memoirs of computer pioneer Vic Forrington, he mentions an attitude at Cambridge and elsewhere that autocode languages were somehow less desirable for serious professional work. However, he chronicles his role in promoting Mercury autocode and related languages and how in some cases, these more general languages became more popular than specific assembly languages. Eventually, autocode languages were replaced by newer general-purpose programming languages such as those used today.