what is programming language

Languages: You don’t need to learn computer languages or programing. If you want to learn, however, here’s something about computer languages. The most simple commands to a computer are called a lowlevel language or machine language. It’s similar to how the computer actually works so it’s very fast. Any program written in Assembler, which is a low level language, will work very fast. Most people have trouble reading a page of binary code so they use a high level language, which looks like a natural language, to write the commands. There are many high level languages, such as BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), Logo, Pascal, Modula, Lisp, Prolog, etc. Some were designed for certain computers or jobs. There are about 200 languages, including many local variations or dialects. There are also object languages. Instead of writing commands, the programmer selects and combines objects. An object is an action, such as using the disk drive or the printer. It’s like Lego blocks for computers. Visual Basic and C++ are object languages. A programmer’s toolbox includes the editor, which is like a text editor, a library (or collection) of commands or objects, and a translator. A programmer uses an editor to write a program by writing a list of commands, which are also called statements. Each statement tells the computer to do something. The whole list is called a source code. This means that one can use a programmer’s editor to change the program by editing the source code. A translator converts the high level language source code which a human can understand into a low level language which the computer can understand. There are two kinds of translators: interpreters and compilers. An interpreter translates one statement at a time into machine language and then carries out (runs, or performs) the statement. This means that it’s slow. If there is an error, the program stops. This is useful. A programmer can find the errors. A compiler translates the entire set of commands into machine language. The result can then be run faster, because it doesn’t wait for the next set to be translated. Programmers call this an executable file. Most of us call it a program. A programmer will first write the program and use an interpreter to test the program. If there is an error, the program stops at that line. When all of the errors are fixed (or the bugs are found and removed), the programmer compiles the program. The result is a standalone program, such as Microsoft Word. If you have a program which is still source code, which means that you have to start BASIC to use it, then ask a programmer to show you how to compile.


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