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What triggered the popularity of lambda functions in modern mainstream programming languages?

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In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is planned to introduce them in an upcoming revision of the standard.

Yet, anonymous functions are a very old and very well-known concept in Mathematics and Computer Science (invented by the mathematician Alonzo Church around 1936, and used by the Lisp programming language since 1958, see e.g. here).

So why didn't today's mainstream programming languages (many of which originated 15 to 20 years ago) support lambda functions from the very beginning and only introduced them later?

And what triggered the massive adoption of anonymous functions in the last few years? Is there some specific event, new requirement or programming technique that started this phenomenon?

IMPORTANT NOTE

The focus of this question is the introduction of anonymous functions in modern, main-stream (and therefore, maybe with a few exceptions, non functional) languages. Also, note that anonymous functions (blocks) are present in Smalltalk, which is not a functional language, and that normal named functions have been present even in procedural languages like C and Pascal for a long time.

Please do not overgeneralize your answers by speaking about "the adoption of the functional paradigm and its benefits", because this is not the topic of the question.

In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is planned to introduce them in an upcoming revision of the standard.

Yet, anonymous functions are a very old and very well-known concept in Mathematics and Computer Science (invented by the mathematician Alonzo Church around 1936, and used by the Lisp programming language since 1958, see e.g. here).

So why didn't today's mainstream programming languages (many of which originated 15 to 20 years ago) support lambda functions from the very beginning and only introduced them later?

And what triggered the massive adoption of anonymous functions in the last few years? Is there some specific event, new requirement or programming technique that started this phenomenon?

IMPORTANT NOTE

The focus of this question is the introduction of anonymous functions in modern, main-stream (and therefore, maybe with a few exceptions, non functional) languages. Also, note that anonymous functions are present in Smalltalk, which is not a functional language, and that normal named functions have been present even in procedural languages like C and Pascal for a long time.

Please do not overgeneralize your answers by speaking about "the adoption of the functional paradigm and its benefits", because this is not the topic of the question.

In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is planned to introduce them in an upcoming revision of the standard.

Yet, anonymous functions are a very old and very well-known concept in Mathematics and Computer Science (invented by the mathematician Alonzo Church around 1936, and used by the Lisp programming language since 1958, see e.g. here).

So why didn't today's mainstream programming languages (many of which originated 15 to 20 years ago) support lambda functions from the very beginning and only introduced them later?

And what triggered the massive adoption of anonymous functions in the last few years? Is there some specific event, new requirement or programming technique that started this phenomenon?

IMPORTANT NOTE

The focus of this question is the introduction of anonymous functions in modern, main-stream (and therefore, maybe with a few exceptions, non functional) languages. Also, note that anonymous functions (blocks) are present in Smalltalk, which is not a functional language, and that normal named functions have been present even in procedural languages like C and Pascal for a long time.

Please do not overgeneralize your answers by speaking about "the adoption of the functional paradigm and its benefits", because this is not the topic of the question.

5 Added a short comment regarding Smalltalk.
source | link

In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is planned to introduce them in an upcoming revision of the standard.

Yet, anonymous functions are a very old and very well-known concept in Mathematics and Computer Science (invented by the mathematician Alonzo Church around 1936, and used by the Lisp programming language since 1958, see e.g. here).

So why didn't today's mainstream programming languages (many of which originated 15 to 20 years ago) support lambda functions from the very beginning and only introduced them later?

And what triggered the massive adoption of anonymous functions in the last few years? Is there some specific event, new requirement or programming technique that started this phenomenon?

IMPORTANT NOTE

The focus of this question is the introduction of anonymous functions in modern, main-stream (and therefore, maybe with a few exceptions, non functional) languages. Also, note that anonymous functions are present in Smalltalk, which is not a functional language, and that normal named functions have been present even in procedural languages like C and Pascal for a long time.

Please do not overgeneralize your answers by speaking about "the adoption of the functional paradigm and its benefits", because this is not the topic of the question.

In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is planned to introduce them in an upcoming revision of the standard.

Yet, anonymous functions are a very old and very well-known concept in Mathematics and Computer Science (invented by the mathematician Alonzo Church around 1936, and used by the Lisp programming language since 1958, see e.g. here).

So why didn't today's mainstream programming languages (many of which originated 15 to 20 years ago) support lambda functions from the very beginning and only introduced them later?

And what triggered the massive adoption of anonymous functions in the last few years? Is there some specific event, new requirement or programming technique that started this phenomenon?

IMPORTANT NOTE

The focus of this question is the introduction of anonymous functions in modern, main-stream (and therefore, maybe with a few exceptions, non functional) languages. Please do not overgeneralize your answers by speaking about "the adoption of the functional paradigm and its benefits", because this is not the topic of the question.

In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is planned to introduce them in an upcoming revision of the standard.

Yet, anonymous functions are a very old and very well-known concept in Mathematics and Computer Science (invented by the mathematician Alonzo Church around 1936, and used by the Lisp programming language since 1958, see e.g. here).

So why didn't today's mainstream programming languages (many of which originated 15 to 20 years ago) support lambda functions from the very beginning and only introduced them later?

And what triggered the massive adoption of anonymous functions in the last few years? Is there some specific event, new requirement or programming technique that started this phenomenon?

IMPORTANT NOTE

The focus of this question is the introduction of anonymous functions in modern, main-stream (and therefore, maybe with a few exceptions, non functional) languages. Also, note that anonymous functions are present in Smalltalk, which is not a functional language, and that normal named functions have been present even in procedural languages like C and Pascal for a long time.

Please do not overgeneralize your answers by speaking about "the adoption of the functional paradigm and its benefits", because this is not the topic of the question.

4 Explicitly narrowed the focus of the question.
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