The different types of languages
Not any computer programming language can do anything. There are limitations, and actually, different languages are used for different tasks.
This tutorial focuses on:
- Web languages
- Software languages
- The different generations of languages
- Procedure oriented programming
- Object oriented programming
Used for creating and editing pages on the web. Can do anything from putting plain text on a webpage, to accessing and retrieving data from a database. Vary greatly in terms of power and complexity.
Hyper Text Markup Language. The core language of the world wide web that is used to define the structure and layout of web pages by using various tags and attributes. Although a fundamental language of the web, HTML is static - content created with it does not change. HTML is used to specify the content a webpage will contain, not how the page functions. Learn HTML at our HTML tutorials section.
Extensible Markup Language. A language developed by the W3C which works like HTML, but unlike HTML, allows for custom tags that are defined by programmers. XML allows for the transmission of data between applications and organizations through the use of its custom tags.
Visual Basic Scripting Edition. A language developed by Microsoft that works only in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser and web browsers based on the Internet Explorer engine such as FlashPeak's Slim Browser. VBScript Can be used to print dates, make calculations, interact with the user, and more. VBScript is based on Visual Basic, but it is much simpler. Learn VBScript at our VBScript tutorials section.
Hypertext Preprocessor (it's a recursive acronym). A powerful language used for many tasks such as data encryption, database access, and form validation. PHP was originally created in 1994 By Rasmus Lerdorf. Learn PHP at our PHP tutorials section.
Used for creating executable programs. Can create anything from simple console programs that print some text to the screen to entire operating systems. Vary greatly in terms of power and complexity.
An advanced programming language used for software application development. Originally developed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs in the 1970's and designed to be a systems programming language but since then has proven itself to be able to be used for various software applications such as business programs, engineering programs, and even games. The UNIX operating system is written in C.
Descendant of the C language. The difference between the two languages is that C++ is object-oriented. C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs and is a very popular language for graphical applications.
A language developed by Microsoft based on the BASIC language . Visual Basic is used for creating Windows applications. The VBScript language (also developed by Microsoft) is based on Visual Basic.
The different generations of languages
There are currently five generations of computer programming languages. In each generation, the languages syntax has become easier to understand and more human-readable.
First generation languages (abbreviated as 1GL)
Represent the very early, primitive computer languages that consisted entirely of 1's and 0's - the actual language that the computer understands (machine language).
Second generation languages (2GL)
Represent a step up from from the first generation languages. Allow for the use of symbolic names instead of just numbers. Second generation languages are known as assembly languages. Code written in an assembly language is converted into machine language (1GL).
Third generation languages (3GL)
Fourth generation languages (4GL)
The syntax used in 4GL is very close to human language, an improvement from the previous generation of languages. 4GL languages are typically used to access databases and include SQL and ColdFusion, among others.
Fifth generation languages (5GL)
Fifth generation languages are currently being used for neural networks. A nueral network is a form of artifical intelligence that attempts to imitate how the human mind works.
A type of programming where a structured method of creating programs is used. With procedure-oriented programming, a problem is broken up into parts and each part is then broken up into further parts. All these parts are known as procedures . They are separate but work together when needed. A main program centrally controls them all.
Some procedure-oriented languages are COBOL, FORTRAN, and C.
Object oriented programming
A type of programming where data types representing data structures are defined by the programmer as well as their properties and the things that can be done with them. With object-oriented programming, programmers can also create relationships between data structures and create new data types based on existing ones by having one data type inherit characteristics from another one.
In object-oriented programming, data types defined by the programmer are called classes (templates for a real world object to be used in a program). For example, a programmer can create a data type that represents a car - a car class. This class can contain the properties of a car (color, model, year, etc.) and functions that specify what the car does (drive, reverse, stop, etc.)
Some object-oriented languages include C++, Java, and PHP.