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Programming Languages: Types and Features

For computers, mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic devices to work, a programming language is necessary to issue the commands which allow them to complete different activities. There are many types of programming language and the correct one depends on the philosophy and objectives of the device or program. In this article, we will explore a range of programming languages, with their features and differences that distinguish them from one other. In addition, you will discover which is the best language for web programming among all types of programming languages..

What is a programming language?

A programming language consists of a vocabulary containing a set of grammatical rules intended to convey instructions to a computer or computing device to perform specific tasks.

Each programming language has an unique set of keywords along with a special syntax to organize the software’s instructions.

There are low-level and high-level programming languages which, although simple compared to human languages, are more complex than machine languages.

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Low-level languages include assembly and machine languages. An assembly language contains a list of basic instructions and is much harder to read than a high-level language.

High-level languages, on the other hand, are designed to be easy to read and understand, allowing programmers to write source code naturally, using logical words and symbols.

Throughout the evolution of computers, hundreds of different programming languages have been created for various types of development. The field of programming is very wide, so the use of a particular language will depend on the objectives to be achieved. Logical, isn’t it?

The following activities can be performed:

  • Programs and applications development.
  • Artificial intelligence development.
  • Database development.
  • Video game development.
  • Development of drivers and hardware interface.
  • Internet and web pages development.
  • Script development.

Differences between natural language and programming language: Types and Features

Natural language is the language spoken by people, while programming language is intended for machines. Both languages contain important similarities, such as the differentiation they make between syntax and semantics, their purpose to communicate and the existence of a basic composition.

Whilst there are several similarities and points in common, for example, the two types were created to communicate ideas, expressions, and instructions, it is also possible to identify some differences.

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When it comes to the differences between natural language and programming language, it is worth noting that the latter is stricter and less tolerant than the former. This happens because human languages have a built-in redundancy that allows some ambiguity to be resolved using context.

On the other hand, programming languages have practically no redundancy, otherwise, it would be very easy to fall into ambiguity and not indicate the correct command.

The fact that programming languages are stricter in this regard is due to the fact that computers are very precise in the instructions they like to receive. In addition, machines do not have the ability to clarify the meaning of an expression as a human being would.

It is also essential that programming languages are fixed and closed to avoid confusion, while natural languages are open and allow combinations without the same risk of making mistakes.

Main features of programming languages

The popularity of a programming language depends on the features and utilities it provides to programmers. The features that a programming language must have to stand out are the following:

  • Simplicity: the language must offer clear and simple concepts that facilitate learning and application, in a way that is simple to understand and maintain. Simplicity is a difficult balance to strike without compromise the overall capabilty .
  • Naturalness: this means that its application in the area for which it was designed must be done naturally, providing operators, structures and syntax for operators to work efficiently.
  • Abstraction: it is the ability to define and use complicated structures or operations while ignoring certain low level details.
  • Efficiency: Programming languages must be translated and executed efficiently so as not to consume too much memory or require too much time.
  • Structuring: the language allows programmers to write their code according to structured programming concepts, to avoid creating errors.
  • Compactness: with this characteristic, it is possible to express operations concisely, without having to write too many details.
  • Locality: refers to the code concentrating on the part of the program with which you are working at a given time.

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What is the best web programming language?

Web development can be done through different programming languages that allow you to build a site or design an application. Defining which is the best web programming language is complicated because it depends on several factors. However, the following options stand out:

  • Java: multipurpose language that adjusts efficiently to web development.
  • Go: This is a general purpose, flexible language that facilitates the creation of applications.
  • Ruby on Rails: allows you to design web applications quickly.
  • Python: it works in a wide variety of contexts and on the web has technical advantages.
  • JavaScript: it is on the client’s side and can be extended to the server for different functions.