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    Programming Languages

    A programming language is a constructed language, as opposed to natural languages likes English and Mandarin, which is designed as a middleman between the human programmer who inputs the code and the machine that only understands low-level assembly language (which is then further broken down until ultimately being 1s and 0s). The code that a programmer types is bound by rules known as syntax, not entirely unlike the grammar of a natural language. There are significant differences in the underlying philosophies and architectures of these languages, yet their syntactic differences are generally not enough to make one completely incomprehensible to a programmer trained in another. See the examples of variable declaration and initialization statements below:

    Programming language How to declare an integer variable and assign it the value of 5
    C int foo = 5;
    Java int foo = 5;
    Python foo = 5
    Perl my $foo = 5;
    MATLAB foo = 5;
    Javascript var foo = 5;
    PHP $foo = 5;

    'foo' and 'bar' are common metasyntactic placeholders in example code from the programming community

    Previously, procedural languages like C reflected the predominant industry paradigm but over the past decade there has been a definite shift toward object-orientated programming. Most modern languages at least support object-orientated programming - several to the exclusion of all else. However, both paradigms share the fundamental need to express algorithms in their languages, using loopsfunctions and variables. Most of the most popular languages in use today - C(++), Java, etc. - are general-purpose, but some equally successful ones in their specific fields were designed with narrower purposes, such as MATLAB and SQL which are for numerical operations and database management respectively. The majority of computer programming languages are entirely textual, though some, such as Visual Basic, have a graphical component.

    The idea of a programming language actually pre-dates computers themselves - the technology was initially thought up to direct the behavior of Jacquard looms, player pianos and similar machines. However, the first computer programmer is generally considered to be Ada Lovelace who wrote the first algorithm ever intended to be carried out by a machine in 1842. It was designed for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. The first true programming languages were the assembly codes of 1940s computers.

    First computer ever invented. Image credit: Anasalialmalla

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com March 31, 2023, 5:08 am ad1c9bdddf


    BrainMass Categories within Programming Languages


    Solutions: 723

    Java is a popular general-purpose object-oriented language specifically designed to reduce implementation dependencies.


    Solutions: 206

    C is a popular general-purpose procedural language that is the longest-stayer in industry today.


    Solutions: 580

    C++ is an enhanced version of C that supports object-orientated programming (OOP).


    Solutions: 58

    C# is the most recent 'upgrade' from C and supports OOP as well as being more high-level than C and C++.


    Solutions: 14

    Python is a popular language designed to be simple, accessible, flexible and forgivable.



    Solutions: 112

    JavaScript is perhaps the most widely-used language for client-side web programming, and supports both procedural and object-orientated programming.


    Solutions: 26

    The Perl family of mostly scripting languages that borrows heavily from C, Bash and AWK.


    Solutions: 39

    PHP is a popular server-side programming language designed for web development.

    Visual Basic

    Solutions: 245

    Visual Basic is Microsoft's event-driven language with a large graphical component, made to be accessible for beginners.


    Solutions: 44

    MATLAB is a numerical language/environment that finds heavy use in applied science industries and academics thanks to its graphing capabilities.



    Solutions: 173

    SQL is a mostly declarative language designed to manipulate relations database management systems.

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