High-level and Low-level Programming Languages
In this article, I am going to give an overview of High-level and Low-level Programming Languages. In our previous article, we have discussed the natural language that human beings understand, and machines understand machine language and that language is in binary that is zeros and ones. The binary language we can call machine language. Machine language is a low-level language that human beings can’t understand and only machines can.
So, when the machines were introduced initially, it was very difficult for people to write the program, it was not commonly used at the consumer level. Machines were used in laboratories only. At that time, the people who develop used to learn machine code to develop. The machine language was very tough, and it was used in the very initial stage.
Later, they thought that they should make some method to make it easy. So, they introduce some language called Assembly language. This assembly language was a little easier than the binary language or machine language. Assembly language is used in system programming and to develop operating systems. Assembly language was a little easy and it can be taught and it can be learned and it can be practiced and used for writing the program. The assembly language was used for some time and this became a base for conversion from this language to machine language.
Assembly language is also a low-level language, it’s very difficult to learn. Suppose a class of 100 students are there and if somebody is teaching assembly language, then there are the chances of learning one student it right.
So, the learning curve is very high and it’s very difficult. As part of academics, students learn it for some time and they finish the exam and forget it.
So, at a low level, we have two languages i.e. Machine Language and Assembly language. As these two languages are very difficult, we wanted some English-like language. English-like languages are high-level languages. They are not exactly like English and they are not more like machine code. They are in-between. So, that is easy enough for anybody to learn high-level languages. There is n number of high-level languages are available in the market which can be learned by any human being.
Examples of High-Level Languages are C, C++, Java, Python, C#, Visual Basic, Visual C++, etc. We call these languages programming languages because we can program using these languages.
Assembly language is also a programming language but that is a low-level programming language and C, C++, Java, Python, C#, Visual Basic, Visual C++, etc. are high-level programming languages.
So, we are much familiar with the high-level language and these are easy to learn. No doubt for a beginner it is tough in the beginning to learn but when you learn any one of the languages, then you can learn other languages very easily. you should learn one language thoroughly, then you can understand all other languages. They are on the same patterns now.
What is a Low-level programming language?
A low-level programming language is a programming language that provides little or no from the hardware, and it is represented in 0 or 1 forms, which are the machine instructions. Generally, this refers to either machine code (Machine level language) or assembly language.
The machine-level language is a language that consists of a set of instructions that are in the binary form 0’s or 1’s. As we know computers can only understand machine instructions, which are in binary digits, i.e., 0 and 1, so the instructions given to the computer can be only in binary codes. Creating a program in a machine-level language is a very difficult task as it is not easy for programmers to write the program in machine instructions. It is error-prone as it is not easy to understand, and its maintenance is also very high. A machine-level language is not portable as each computer has its machine instructions, so if we write a program on one computer will no longer be valid on another computer.
The different processor architectures use different machine codes, for example, a PowerPC processor contains RISC architecture, which requires different code than the intel x86 processor, which has a CISC architecture.
The assembly language contains some human-readable commands such as mov, add, sub, etc. The problems which we were facing in machine-level language are reduced to some extent by using an extended form of machine-level language known as assembly language. Since assembly language instructions are written in English words like mov, add, sub, so it is easier to write and understand.
As we know that computers can only understand machine-level instructions, so we require a translator that converts the assembly code into machine code. The translator used for translating the code is known as an assembler. The assembly language code is not portable because the data is stored in computer registers, and the computer has to know the different sets of registers.
The assembly code is not faster than machine code because the assembly language comes above the machine language in the hierarchy, so it means that assembly language has some abstraction from the hardware while machine language has zero abstraction.
What is a High-level programming language?
In computer science, a high-level programming language is a programming language with strong abstraction from the details of the computer.
Difference between High-Level and Low-Level languages:
The similarities between High-level language and low-level language are that both belong to the category of programming languages. The main difference between the high-level language and low-level language is that the Programmers can easily understand or interpret or compile the high-level language in comparison to machines. On the other hand, Machines can easily understand low-level language in comparison to human beings.
And one more thing about these high-level programming languages, we can categories them as compiler-based languages and interpreter-based languages, and some are hybrid languages. In the next article, I am going to discuss Compiler and Interpreter in detail. In this article, I try to give an overview of High-level and Low-level Programming Languages and I hope you enjoy this High-level and Low-level Programming Languages article.