A programming language is anything which converts strings into machine code outputs. Programming languages are a kind of computer language and are used algorithms. Programming languages are generally used to write instructions for computers to understand. There are currently thousands of programming languages. A considerable number of programming languages are written imperative format. In this there is a sequence of operations to be performed. The other format is the declarative format in which only the result is specified and not the method needed to obtain the result. A description of a programming language is generally divided into two parts the syntax and the semantics which are both generally defined by a formal language. Some programming languages are defined by a specification document. One example could be the C programming language which is specified the ISO Standard. Some programming languages have both a basic language which is specifically defined by a standard as well as extensions taken from the dominant implementation. The Programming Language Theory is considered a subfield of computer science that is concerned with analysis, implementation etc of programming languages.
Definitions of Programming Languages
Function and Targets- A programming language is a language used to write computer programs. In this the concerned computer will perform some computations.
Abstractions- A programming language often contains contain abstractions for defining and manipulating data structures. This can also be used to control the flow of execution.
Expressive Power- According to the theory of computation all languages are classified based on the computations they are capable of expressing.
Extremely early models of computers like the Colossus from the 1940s were programmed without the aid of a stored device and worked with the help of constantly modifying circuitry and banks of physical controls. Some time later machine language could be used to write programs. In this the programmer would write each instruction in a numeric format which the hardware would be able to execute directly. After this the second generation of programming languages were developed. They were also known as assembly languages. They were heavily dependent to the instruction set architecture of the specific computer. After this the world had developed the first level programming languages as the third-generation programming languages. John Mauchly’s Short Code was among the first high-level languages ever developed for an electronic computer. In the 1950s the Alick Glennie from The University of Manchester had managed to develop Autocode. It was a programming language which used a compiler to automatically all the commands into machine language. The first code and the compiler for the same were developed in 1952 for the computer Mark 1. It is considered by many to be the world’s first compiled high level programming language. In 1954 the programming language FORTRON was evented at the IBM. It is widely considered to be the world’s first high-level general purpose programming language to be used rather just being an idea on a piece of paper. It is still widely popular for being used in high-performance computing. In the years of 1960s to 1970s the increased use of high-level languages mandated the requirements of system programming languages. They can be used to perform tasks that would require direct access to the hardware but also require a much higher level of control and error checking. Some of the popular programming languages that were developed during this period are APL, ALGOL, and Lisp. In the years of the 1980s languages like C++ combined object-oriented and systems programming.
Syntax- A syntax is nothing but the ‘surface form’. As most programming languages are based purely on text, they use sequences of text like natural languages.
Semantics- This word refers to the meaning of the languages instead of their form like syntax.
Type System- A type system defines how a programming language classifies values and expressions into types.
Weak typing- This allows the value of one to be taken as another. This can prove beneficial but sometimes faults can go undetected at the compiling stage or even the running stage.
Strong typing- Compared to weak typing strong typing prevents these faults from happening as it will just raise an error. Strong typing is also called type safe.
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