Saturday, May 1, 2010

Introduction to Computer Programming and Programming Languages

Since computer science was recognized as a distinct academic field in 1960s, it has made great strides especially in making things a lot easier for humans. One of the issues it has solved is the way problems that need to be addressed have been translated into a code or format computers can understand. There are various ingenious and great solutions used in such problems. Here's an introduction to computer programming that will give you a greater understanding of this exciting discipline.

In order to pass on instructions to computers, programming languages are used. These languages, which are designed by humans, are based on the so-called rules of syntax and semantics. These days, a wide range of languages have been made, employed, discarded.

Programming languages usually don't last that long. They come up but after just a few years of stay in the industry, you will feel that the language needs some improvement or you need something your chosen language can't provide. It won't be long until that particular language is replaced by a more flexible successor.

Programming languages do evolve because there's a continuous search for efficient transformation of human language into machine code. Languages produced usually start with ideas, which conceal hardware and employ representations that are more convenient to human programmers. Another crucial facet of language design is dealing with the program's complexity. As programs become bigger and more refined, developers have come to realize that there are language types that are easier to support in huge systems. Because of this, event-driven and object-oriented languages became widely used.

Types of Programming Languages: An Overview

Since this field is evolving, there is no set standard in categorizing programming languages. One way to characterize them is through programming paradigm. These classifications include:

o Object-Oriented

Object-oriented programming isn't just the newest; it is also the most powerful among the paradigms. In programs that are object-oriented, the designer indicates the data structures as well as the categories of operations that can be done on it. The combination of data and operations that can be carried out is dubbed as an object.

o Procedural

Procedural programming involves a list of actions a program needs to accomplish to be able to attain certain goal. This is a simple paradigm wherein a program is divided into a starting phase, list of operations that needs to be done, and ending stage. Also called imperative programming, procedural programming involves the idea of procedure call.

o Structured

A unique type of procedural programming, structured programming offers additional tools that can be used to deal with the issues produced by larger programs. In structured programming, the program is split into small codes that can easily be understood. Oftentimes, structured programming is associated with top-down approach which starts with an overview of the system.

Computer programming languages are artificial and are made to manage computers. To come up with new and better language, the developer needs to spend hard work and long working hours. With this introduction to computer programming, you've become familiar with the various types of languages based on paradigms.