Types of programming languages

Programming languages

  • A programming language is a means of communication for the user to communicate with the computer system.
  • The programming language is a set of instructions which tells the computer what to do.
  • This is a language which is understood by both man and machine. There are a number of programming languages.
  • However all these languages are designed to perform at least certain basic instructions and operations;
  • These instructions and operations are :
  • Input/output operations,
  • Arithmetic operations - mathematical operations like addition, subtraction,
  • Logical operations - Comparison for equality, inequality etc.
  • Movement of instructions and data to and from the CPU.

Types of programming languages

  • Machine Language
  • Assembly Language
  • High Level Language
  • Low Level Language

Machine Language:

  • This is the only language which is understood by the computer.
  • This is the language nearest to the machine. In this language the programs are written in binary code i.e. the instructions are made only by a combination of binary digits 0 and 1.
  • Machine language may vary from machine to machine depending upon the computer architecture.
  •  Machine language is difficult to read and write, since it does not resemble conventional mathematical notation or human language, and its codes vary from computer to computer.

Assembly Language

  • Assembly language is one level above machine language.
  • It uses short mnemonic codes for instructions and allows the programmer to introduce names for blocks of memory that hold data.
  • One might thus write “add pay, total” instead of “0110101100101000” for an instruction that adds two numbers.
  • Assembly language is designed to be easily translated into machine language.
  • The program written in assembly language has to be converted into machine language for use by the computer.
  • This is achieved with the help of the assembler. The assembler is a system program which is supplied by the manufacturer.
  • It converts the assembly program into a machine readable program and the resulting program is called the object program.
  • Thus the input to the assembler is the source program and the output of the assembler is the object program.
  • The assembler translates each assembly language instruction into a corresponding machine code.

High Level Language

  • Higher level languages make use of English like words and statements and mathematical symbols for instructions.
  • The first high-level languages were introduced in the 1950's. 
  • Higher level languages make programming easier, since they are relatively easy to learn. Less time is required to write programs in high level languages.
  • The programmer is not required to know the detailed working of the computer system in order to program in a high level language.
  • Today, high-level languages are in widespread use. These include BASIC, C, C++, Cobol, FORTRAN, Java, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Visual Basic.

Low Level Language

  • Low-level languages are designed to operate and handle the entire hardware and instructions set architecture of a computer directly.
  • Low-level languages are considered to be closer to computers.
  • In other words, their prime function is to operate, manage and manipulate the computing hardware and components.
  • Programs and applications written in a low-level language are directly executable on the computing hardware without any interpretation or translation.