Generations of programming languages | First, Second, Third, Fourth

Generations of programming languages | First, Second, Third, Fourth

Generations of programming languages :

In general, a language is a communication medium between two people. We often use English, German, French, Hindi etc. etc. languages to share our thoughts with each other. You might know that a computer can do nothing automatically if we don’t give proper instructions to it. So, to communicate with a computer or to talk with a computer we also need a language. So that we can tell a computer to play a song, play a video, copy a file or something else. The languages used to give such instructions to a computer are referred as the programming language. There are different generations of programming languages are available. In total, there are 4 generations of programming languages are available. Let’s discuss all of these 4 generations of programming languages in details.

First generation language :

In the first generation language, the instructions were written in the form of binary i.e. 0 and 1. It is fairly difficult to understand, write as well as modify. Because how do you understand when an instruction is supposed to be written like “00011100101010”. The whole process of writing, updating codes are also time consuming since it requires a lot of calculations to write anything in the form of binary. The first generations of programming languages are also known as machine language or low-level language. The first generation programming language doesn’t require any translator or converter to run the codes by a machine. So, the codes are very fast and efficient. But for each type of processor, it requires its own type of language. This is the reason that the first generation of programming languages are also known as the machine dependent language.

Second generation language :

The instructions are written in the form of mnemonics in the second generation language to simplify the program. It is also known as the assembly language. To execute these instructions, all mnemonics are converted into binary form with the help of a translator known as the assembler. The program written using mnemonics is called source program and the translated binary form of the source program is called object program.

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is commonly used to translate the source program into the object program. The second generations of programming languages are still used to write programs for electronic controls using microprocessors like computerised copier machine, computerised telephone billing etc.

Third generation language :

In the third generations of programming languages, English language with symbols and digits were used to write the programs. The third generation programming languages are also known as high-level languages. FORTRAN, BASIC, COBOL, PASCAL, PROLOG, C, C++ etc are the commonly used high-level programming languages.

In order to execute the instructions or programs written in third generation language, the source program is to be translated to the binary form. This is done by a compiler or interpreter. The compiler is also used to translate source program to object program and the interpreter is also used for translation but it translates the program line by line.

For example, C language uses a compiler to translate the programs written in C language to machine understandable language. To execute the source program, it is also necessary to create an executable program to execute those instructions by linking the input and output devices in the program. The program which performs this job done is called linker. The linker links the input-output devices and generates an executable program from an object program.

Fourth generation language :

The fourth generations of programming languages basically referred to the software packages which are mostly written in one of the high-level languages like C, C++, JAVA, Python for any specific application. Here, a user can perform a task without writing any programs. The user only has to enter the command which calls the specific program that is available in the package.

Oracle, SQL, MS Word, PageMaker, AutoCAD etc are some of the most commonly used fourth-generation packages. These programs are specially developed for performing some specific task and they are also referred as Application Software. You can also make use of coding tests to hire developers of the all the generations of programming languages.

Debarshi Das

Debarshi Das is a passionate blogger & full-stack JavaScript developer from Guwahati, Assam. He has a deep interest in robotics too. He holds a BSc degree in Information Technology & currently pursuing Masters of Computer Application (MCA) from a premier govt. engineering college. He is also certified as a chip-level computer hardware expert from an ISO certified institute.

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