Introduction to Programming Languages:
Are you aiming to become a Software engineer one day? Do you also want to develop an application for Solving Problems that People worldwide would love to use? Are you passionate enough to take the big step to enter the programming world? Then you are in the right place. In this article, you will get a brief Introduction to Programming Languages. At the end of this article, you will understand the following pointers:
- What is Software?
- Types of Software
- What is a Language?
- Types of Computer Languages
- What is a Programming Language?
Program and Programming:
Program: A Program is a common computer term executed by software that runs on a computer when the program is used as what it means to create a software program. The set of instructions is called a program. For Example, Programmers create programs by writing code that instructs the computer what to do and execute it on a special software designed for it, such as turbo C for executing ‘C’ Programs.
Programming:- Programming is the implementation of logic to facilitate the specified computing operations and functionality. Thus, we can say that programming is the process of writing a program.
What is Software?
Software refers to a collection of data, programs, procedures, and instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. So, Software is a collection of programs that uses the resources of the Hardware components. A Program is a set of instructions designed for a particular task.
The set of programs is called software. Let us understand this with an example, i.e., Calculator. For each button, there is some program written inside it. That means a calculator is a collection of programs. And we can also say that a Calculator is software. So, the software is a collection of programs.
As per IT Standards, software is a digitalized and automated process. Let us understand this with an example, i.e., AC. If you set the timer to turn off the AC after 1 hour automatically, then after 1 hour, the AC will be off. And again, using digits, you can set the temperature of the AC. And these things are managed by software inside the AC.
Types of Software:
Software is classified into two types: System Software and Application Software. For a better understanding, please have a look at the below image.
System Software is designed for a general purpose with no limitations. It is basically designed to provide a platform for other software Systems. So, the Software does the functionality for the hardware devices like printers, mobile, processors, etc. System Software is classified into three types:
- Operating Systems: Windows, macOS, Linux. They manage the hardware and software resources of the computer and provide a platform for running application software.
- Device Drivers: Programs that allow the operating system to communicate with hardware devices, like printers and video cards.
- Utility Software: Tools for system maintenance and optimization, like antivirus programs, disk defragmenters, and system cleaners.
Application Software is a program or group of programs designed for end-users, i.e., designed for a specific task. Application Software does the functionality for business-oriented applications. Application Software is classified into two types:
- Productivity Software: Includes word processors (Microsoft Word), spreadsheets (Excel), and presentation software (PowerPoint).
- Web Browsers: Like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, for accessing and navigating the internet.
- Graphics Software: For creating and editing images and videos; examples include Adobe Photoshop and Blender.
- Database Software: Manages and manipulates data; examples include MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server.
- Educational Software: Interactive learning and instructional software.
- Multimedia Software: For playing, creating, and editing audio and video files.
- Enterprise Software: Large-scale software solutions like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
What is a Language?
Generally, languages are used to communicate with others. The languages like Odia / English / Marathi / Hindi are called human/regional languages used to communicate with humans. Computer languages are used to write the programs [software] to communicate with the machines.
Types of Computer Languages:
Computer languages are the means by which computers are instructed to perform specific tasks. They vary greatly in syntax, level of abstraction, and specific use cases. Here’s an overview of the different types of computer languages: Basically, computer languages are divided into 3 types.
- Description: The most basic type of computer language, consisting of binary code (0s and 1s). It is directly understood by the computer’s central processing unit (CPU).
- Uses: Low-level operations and basic functioning of the hardware.
- Description: A low-level programming language that uses symbolic code (mnemonics) and is a little more human-readable than machine language.
- Uses: System programming, hardware manipulation, and performance-critical tasks where direct control over the hardware is necessary.
More abstract and closer to human languages, high-level languages are easier to read, write, and maintain. They are platform-independent and require a compiler or interpreter.
- Procedural Programming Languages: Like C, Fortran, and COBOL, focusing on a series of computational steps or procedures.
- Object-Oriented Programming Languages: Java, C++, and Python, based on the concept of “objects,” which are data structures containing data and procedures.
- Functional Programming Languages: Like Haskell, Scala, and Erlang, emphasizing the application of functions.
C is a high-level language with low-level features. Hence, C is also called middle-level language. High-level features allow designing application software like calculator, calendar, media player, etc.; low-level features are used to design system software like OS, device drivers, and translators. etc. Hence, C is multi-purpose. C is a high-level/middle-level programming language.
The languages are used to communicate with others. Computer languages are used to write the programs [software] to communicate with the machines.
What is a Programming Language?
A programming language is a formal language comprising a set of instructions that produce various kinds of output. Programming languages are used in computer programming to implement algorithms. A Programming Language is a formal language comprising a set of instructions used to communicate with the computer. Programming Language is classified into two types:
- High-Level Programming Language
- Low-level Programming Language
For a better understanding, please have a look at the following image.
High-Level Programming Language:
A high-level programming language is a type of programming language that provides a strong level of abstraction from the computer’s instruction set architecture. Compared to low-level programming languages, high-level languages are closer to human languages and further from machine languages, making them more readable and understandable for programmers.
The High-Level Programming Languages are syntactically similar to English and easy to understand. High-Level Programming Languages are user-dependent languages. A High-Level Programming Language combines alphabets, digits, and symbols. It is called microstatements. By using a high-level programming language, we are developing user interface applications. Examples: C, C++, VC++, JAVA, C#, Swift, Objective C, D-Language
Low-Level Programming Language:
Low-level programming languages are computer languages with a very small degree of abstraction from a computer’s machine code or architecture. They are closer to the hardware than high-level programming languages, making them more complex and harder for humans to understand, but they offer greater control over the hardware.
The Low-Level Programming Languages are the languages that can be easily understandable to the system. These are system-dependent languages. The two main categories of low-level programming languages are as follows:
- Machine Language
- Assembly Language
Machine Language is the fundamental language for the system. It can be directly understandable without any translation. These are machine-oriented languages that use the collection of the binary of 1’s and 0’s.
- Nature: This is the most basic level of programming language. Machine language comprises binary code – a series of 0s and 1s.
- Direct Interaction: It allows direct interaction with the hardware and is specific to a particular processor type. Programs written in machine language are executed directly by the computer’s CPU.
- Usage: Due to its complexity and the need for precise hardware knowledge, machine language is rarely used for programming in modern times, except in very specific scenarios like bootloader or firmware programming.
The Assembly Language can be called Symbolic Language. To remember easily the program coding be implementing this language. Different types of symbols will be used in this language to design the program. However, this assembly code is not directly understandable to the system, so we require translators.
- Mnemonic Codes: Assembly language uses short, mnemonic codes like ADD for addition and SUB for subtraction, which are easier for humans to understand than binary code.
- Assembler: Programs written in assembly language are converted into machine language by a program called an assembler. This conversion process is relatively straightforward as there is a direct correspondence between assembly language commands and machine language instructions.
- Control and Efficiency: Assembly language provides more control over the hardware than high-level languages. It allows programmers to utilize the full potential of the hardware, achieving performance optimizations that are not possible in higher-level languages.
- Usage: Commonly used in system programming, embedded systems, device drivers, and situations where hardware interaction and performance are critical. However, it requires a deep understanding of the computer architecture and is more error-prone and time-consuming to write and maintain than high-level languages.
As a programmer, if we know the programming language, it is impossible to interact with computers because the computer can only understand binary code.
In the above case, it is recommended to use a translator. As a programmer, if the instruction comes in the programming language, the Translator will convert the programming language code into binary format. According to every binary instruction, we will get an application or software.
In the next article, I will discuss What is a Translator and its need in Programming Languages. Here, in this article, I try to give you an overview of Program and Programming Languages, and I hope you like this article. I would like to have your feedback. Please post your feedback, questions, or comments about this article.
About the Author: Pranaya Rout
Pranaya Rout has published more than 3,000 articles in his 11-year career. Pranaya Rout has very good experience with Microsoft Technologies, Including C#, VB, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web API, EF, EF Core, ADO.NET, LINQ, SQL Server, MYSQL, Oracle, ASP.NET Core, Cloud Computing, Microservices, Design Patterns and still learning new technologies.