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Programming language I (PL/I) is both a procedural and an imperative programming language that was designed for engineering, scientific and systems programming, and business applications. It has been primarily used by the academic, industrial and commercial sectors since its introduction in the 1960s and is still in active use as of 2011.
PL/1 supports structured programming, recursion, linked lists or linked data structure handling, floating-point, fixed-point and complex character string and bit string handling. The syntax and words used are much like English, and the language is well suited to defining complex data formats using a wide set of functions.
Programming language 1 was born because IBM wanted to design a machine that would supersede all the IBM architectures that came before it to become the common machine architecture for the business and scientific communities. This became the IBM System 360. Before this, programmers had to use different languages to program for each hardware. Similarly, IBM wanted a single common programming language that all users from any field could use.
PL/1 had the following significant language features: