Introduction to Programming: Machine Language, Assembly Language and High Level Language

Introduction to Programming

As we know that a computer cannot perform any task of its own and can only understand its own language which is the language of 0s and 1s i.e. binary number system, therefore a computer user has to communicate with a computer using the language which they can understand.

Thus, the set of instructions to perform a task in the computer is known as a program and the computer languages in which programs are written are called programming languages. Also, the person developing or writing programs is known as “programmer“.

It should be noted that computer cannot understand natural languages like english, etc.

While writing programs in order to obtain desired results, certain rules are to be followed as every programming language has its own set of rules known as syntax of that programming language which must be followed to write valid programs.

Certain examples of programming languages are c, c++, c#, perl, python, java, etc.

Programming Language Types

Programming language may be classified into three following categories:

Machine Language

Every computer works only on 0s and 1s i.e. binary number system and can directly understand only its own machine language which is its “natural language” defined by its hardware design.

Therefore, in machine language programming programmers have to instruct computers by using different combinations of 0s and 1s.

The drawback of this was that the machine language programming was too cumbersome for most of the programmers as it was too slow, tedious and error prone.

Also, the programs written in machine language are machine dependent as a particular machine language can be used on only one type of computer.

Assembly Language

In assembly language programming to overcome disadvantages of machine languages, programmers began using English like abbreviations to represent elementary operations instead of using the strings of 0s and 1s.

These symbolic instructions formed the basis of assembly languages and the translator programs that were developed to convert assembly language programs to machine language are known as assemblers.

High Level Language

Despite with the advent of assembly language, programmers still had to use many instructions to accomplish even the simplest tasks making the task of programming still quite tedious.

Thus, to speed up the programming process further, high level languages were developed in which single statements could be written to perform substantial tasks.

High level language programming allowed the programmers to write instruction that look almost like everyday English and contain commonly used mathematical notations.

One of the main advantage that high level language, programmers provided to the programmers is that they can write programs without worrying about the hardware platforms where they will be implemented.

Since, the programs written in high level language needed to be translated into machine language, the translator programs that were developed to do this job are known as compilers.

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  1. Okome Mwinyi
    Okome Mwinyi October 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    Good Evening,
    This post is cool and simple.I liked it.I have a question though on the same “I have a perception that machine language exists somewhere in every computer despite the development of windows.However I was just curios and wanted to know on How can a user who uses windows 7 operating system lets say wants to interface with the machine language or even create program in Machine mode,How can he or she accomplish this.Any assistant will be much appreciated.Thank and have a good evening.Bye

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

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