Computer Languages – Computer Awareness Notes

Mentor for Bank Exams
Computer Languages – Computer Awareness Notes
A language is the main medium of communicating between the Computer systems and the most common are the programming languages. Computer language or programming language is a code used by computer programmers to communicate with a computer.
Computer language establishes a flow of communication between software programs. The language enables a computer user to dictate what commands the computer must perform to process data. There are basically two types of computer languages:
1) Low Level Language
2) High Level Language

1. Low Level Language:
Low level languages are computer instructions or machine code very easily understandable by a computing machine. It is mainly designed to operate and handle all the hardware and instructions set architecture of a Computer. The main function of the Low level language is to operate, manage and manipulate the hardware and system components.
Machine Language is one of the low-level programming languages which is the first generation language developed for communicating with a Computer. It is written in machine code which represents 0 and 1 binary digits inside the Computer string which makes it easy to understand and perform the operations.
1.    It makes fast and efficient use of the computer
2.    It requires no translator to translate the code i.e. directly understood by the computer.
1.    All operation codes have to be remembered
2.    All memory addresses have to be remembered
3.    It is hard to amend or find errors in a program written in the machine language
4.    These languages are machine dependent i.e. a particular machine language can be used on only one type of computer.
Assembly Language is the second generation programming language that has almost similar structure and set of commands as Machine language. Instead of using numbers like in Machine languages here we use words or names in English forms and also symbols. For example microprocessor instruction codes. An assembly language is the most basic programming language available for any processor. With assembly language, a programmer works only with operations that are implemented directly on the physical CPU.
1.    It is easier to understand and use as compared to machine language
2.    It is easy to locate and correct errors
3.    It is modified easily
1.    Like machine language it is also machine dependent
2.    Since it is machine dependent, there programmer should have the knowledge of he hardware also.

2. High Level Language:
High-level computer languages use formats that are similar to English. The purpose of developing high-level languages was to enable people to write programs easily, in their own native language environment (English).
High-level languages are basically symbolic languages that use English words and/or mathematical symbols rather than mnemonic codes. Each instruction in the high-level language is translated into many machine language instructions that the computer can understand.
  • Problem-Oriented Language: These are languages used for handling specialized types of data processing problems where programmer only specifies the input/output requirements and other relative information of the problem, that are to be solved. The programmer does not have to specify the procedure to be followed in solving that particular problem.
  • Procedural Language: These are general purpose languages that are designed to express the logic of a data processing problem.
  • Non-procedural Language: Computer Programming Languages that allow users and professional programmers to specify the results they want without specifying how to solve the problem.
Many languages have been developed for achieving different variety of tasks, some are fairly specialized others are quite general purpose. These are categorized according to their use as:
1. Algebraic Formula-Type Processing: These languages are oriented towards the computational procedures for solving mathematical and statistical problems. Examples are
1.    BASIC (Basic All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)
2.    FORTRAN (Formula Translation).
3.    PL/1 (Programming Language, Version 1).
4.    ALGOL (Algorithmic Language).
5.    APL (A Programming Language).
2. Business Data Processing: These languages emphasize their capabilities for maintaining data processing procedures and files handling problems. Examples are:
1.    COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language)
2.    RPG (Report Program Generator).
3. String and List Processing: These are used for string manipulation including search for patterns, inserting and deleting characters. Examples are: LISP (List Processing).
4. Object-Oriented Programming Language: In OOP, the computer program is divided into objects. Examples are:
  • C++
  • Java
5. Multipurpose Language: A general purpose language used for algebraic procedures, data and string processing. Examples are:
1.    Pascal (after the name of Blaise Pascal).
2.    PL/1 (Programming Language, version 1).
3.    C language.
6. Simulation: These may be written in algebraic or multipurpose languages. Examples are:
1.    SPSS (Statistical Package System Simulator).
2.    GPSS (General Purpose System Simulator).
7. Visual Programming Language
These programming languages are designed for building Windows-based applications.Examples are:
  • Visual Basic
  • Visual Java
  • Visual C
Advantages: Following are the advantages of a high level language:
1.    User-friendly (people based)
2.    Similar to English with vocabulary of words awl symbols therefore it is easier to learn.
3.    They require less time to write
4.    They are easier to maintain
5.    Problem oriented' rather than 'machine' based
6.    Shorter than their low-level equivalents. One statement translates into many machine code instructions.
7.    Program written in a high-level equivalent can he translated into many machine language and therefore can run on every computer for which there exists an appropriate translator.
8.    It is independent of the machine on which it used i.e. programs developed in high level language can be run on any computer.
Disadvantages: There are certain disadvantages also Inspite these disadvantages high-level languages have proved their worth. The advantages out-weigh the disadvantages by far, for most applications. These are:
1.    A high-level language has to be translated into the -machine language by a translator and thus a price in computer time is paid.

2.    The object code generated by a translator might be inefficient compared to an equivalent assembly language program
Mentor for Bank Exams

Compiler & Interpreter
These are the programs that execute instructions written in a high-level language. There are two ways to run programs written in a high-level language. The most common is to compile the program; the other method is to pass the program through an interpreter.
a. Compiler 
A compiler is a special program that processes statements written in a particular programming language called as source code and converts them into machine language or “machine code” that a computer’s processor uses.
Compiler translates high level language programs directly into machine language program. This process is called compilation.
b. Interpreter
An interpreter translates high-level instructions into an intermediate form, which it then executes. Compiled programs generally run faster than interpreted programs. The advantage of an interpreter, however, is that it does not need to go through the compilation stage during which machine instructions are generated. This process can be time-consuming if the program is long.

Smart Review Points (Exam Point of view)
  • The first computer language for electronic devices was short code.
  • The first of the major languages appeared in the form of FORTRAN.
  • FORTRAN stands for Formula Translation system.
  • FORTRAN language was designed at IBM, for scientific computing.
  • The language used for programs that benchmark and ranks the world's fastest super computers is FORTRAN.
  • The language which was referred as "the mother of the COBOL language" was FLOW - MATIC language.
  • LISP stands for LIST PROCESSING language.
  • LISP language was designed for Artificial Intelligence research.
  • The first language to have format grammar was ALGOL.
  • ALGOL mean ALGORITHMIC Language.
  • ALGOL is a high level language designed specially for programmingScientific Computations.
  • Pascal language was named in honor of Blaise Pascal.
  • Pascal language was developed by Niklans Wirth.
  • A small and efficient language intended to encourage good programming practices is Pascal.
  • A general purpose programming language which was developed by Dennis Ritchie was 'C' language.
  • C++ language was known as Object Oriented Programming or OOP.
  • C++ is most after used in simulations, such as games.
  • C++ is sometimes called a hybrid language.
  • One of the preferred programming languages to develop professional applications is C++.
  • Java is a programming language developed by James Gosling.
  • Java language was developed to facilitate communication with the interactive T.V.
  • Visual Basic (VB) was derived from BASIC.
  • BASIC is a very limited scope language and was designed for non - computer science people.
  • The heart of VB is the form or blank window on which some components are drag and drop. Those items are known as Widgets.
  • Perl has often been described as the 'Duct tape of the Internet'.
  • Perl was developed by Larry Wall in 1987.
  • PERL stands for Practical Extraction and Reporting Language.
  • BASIC means Beginner's All purpose symbolic instruction code.
  • Ada is a structured, statically typed, wide spectrum, object oriented high level computer programming language.
  • Ada is an international standard.
  • CORAL stands for Computer On - line Real - time Applications Language.
  • Coral 66 is a general purpose programming language based onALGOL 60.
  • Coral is specifically intended for real time and embeddedapplications.
  • PHP is a general purpose server side Scripting language Originally designed for Web development to produce dynamic Web pages.
  • PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page.
  • At present, PHP is said to stand for Hypertext Pre - Processor.
  • HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.
  • HTML is for displaying web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser. 
  • CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets.