Computer programming languages and generations
Programming languages are use to write application programs which are used by end users. The programming languages are generally used only by professional programmers to write programs. The development of programming languages has improved considerably with the ease and ability of programmers to write powerful applications programs that can solve any task in the world today.
Each computer programming language has its own distinctive grammars and syntax and its own manner of expressing ideas. In principle most computational task could be accomplish by any of the languages but the programs would look very different moreover, writing a program for a particular task could be easier with some languages than the others. The various generations of computer programming languages are discussed below.
1st generation languages
The first generation computer language was machine language, all the machine used machine code which consisted of 0s and 1s. Machine language is highly efficient and allows direct control of each operation; however programmers had to write computer programs using 0 and 1. Some of the drawbacks of the first generations languages were
• Programs were difficult to write and debug
• Programming process was tedious
• Programming was time confusing
• Programs were error prone
2nd generation languages
These were developed in the early 1950s with the ability to use acronyms to speed programming and coding of programs. They were known generational languages were called assembly languages. They had the capability to performs operation such like add, sum. Like machine languages, assembly languages were designed for specific machine and microprocessor, this implies that the program cannot be move from one computer architecture without writing the code which means learning another language where you are to transfer the programs.
3rd generation languages
These were introduced between 1956 and 1963 which saw a major breakthrough in computing history with the development of high level computer languages popularly known as 3rd(3GLS). Example of the 3rd generation languages includes the following
FORTRAN – Formula Translation
FORTRAN was developed in 1956 to provide easier way for scientific and engineering application and these were especially useful for processing Numeric data.
COBOL – Common Business Oriented Languages
COBOL came into use in the early 1960. It was designed with business administration in mind for processing large data types with alphanumeric characters which were mixture of alphabet and data and does repetitive tasks like payroll. The other language was BASIC. These were the early computer programming languages in the early history of computers, since then there has been improvement and this will be discuss later.