Structure of Programming Languages

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Reasons for Studying Concepts of Programming Languages
1. Increased capacity to express ideas – People with limited grasp of natural language are limited in the complexity of their thoughts, it is difficult for people to conceptualize structure that they cannot describe, verbally or in writing. Programmers in the process of developing software encounter the same constraint. Programmers can increase the range of their software-development thought process by learning new language constructs.

2. Improved background for choosing appropriate languages – Professional programmers have had little formal education in computer science and were trained on the job or thought in-house training programs. If these programmers were familiar with the other languages available, they would be in a better position to make language choices.

3. Increased ability to learn new languages – Computer is young discipline, and design methodologies, software development tools, and programming languages are still in a state of continuous evolution. Programmers who understand the concepts of data abstraction will have a much easier time learning how to construct abstract data types than those who are not at all familiar with data abstraction.

4. Better understanding of the significance of implementation – We can become better programmers by understanding the choices among programming language constructs and the consequences of those choices. Certain kinds of bugs can only be found and fixed by a programmer who knows some related implementation and consequences of those choices.

5. Increased ability to design new languages – To a student, the possibility of being required to design new programming language may seem remote, but to professional programmers occasionally design languages. A critical examination of those of programming languages will help in the design of complex systems, and help users to examine and evaluate such products.

6. Overall advancement of computing – It is a global view of computing that the most popular language are the best available and widely used because those in a position to choose languages were not sufficiently familiar with programming language concepts. If those who chooses language are better informed, better language will more quickly squeeze out poorer one.

Programming Domains

1. Scientific Application – The first digital computer, appeared in 1940’s, were used and invented for scientific application. Have simple data structure but require large number of floating-point for arithmetic computation. Example: FORTRAN and ALGOL 60

2. Business Application – Began in 1950’s. Two specific tools were developed for business and now are widely used, these are: Spreadsheet systems and database systems.

3. Artificial Intelligence – is a broad area of computer applications characterized by the absence of exact algorithms and used for symbolic computation rather than numeric computation. The first widely used programming language developed for Artificial Intelligence application is LISP (McCarthy et al., 1965)

4. Systems Programming Languages – The operating system and all of the programming support tools of a computer system are collectively known as the system software. A language for this domain must have low-level features that allow the software interfaces to external devices to be written.

5. Very High-Level Languages (VHLLs) – Evolved slowly over the past 25 years. Example: Scripting languages for UNIX. 4GL developed in 1970s are sometimes considered to be VHLLs.

6. Special-Purpose Language – Appeared over the past 40 years. It is used to produce report which is being used for system simulation.

Language Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation of language feature should be focused on their impact on the software development process. Factors that influence the most important criteria are shown:...
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