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High Level and Low Level Language(Meaning & Differences)

high level and low level language

We, humans, need a language like English, Hindi, German, or any other regional language or just a body gesture to tell things, express feelings, and communicate with others. A computer cannot understand human languages directly. So, we need a language to communicate with a computer. 

Several languages are developed as a method of communication with computers. In simple words, the languages which are used to communicate with a computer are called computer languages or programming languages.

Let’s understand the meaning and differences between two broad categories of programming languages – high level and low level language.

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What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a computer language programmers use to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers to execute.

Although many languages share similarities, each has its own syntax. Once a programmer learns the language’s rules, syntax, and structure, they write the source code in a text editor or IDE. Then, the programmer often compiles the code into machine language that can be understood by the computer. Scripting languages, which do not require a compiler, use an interpreter to execute the script.

Characteristics of a Good Programming Language

Following are some of the characteristics required by a good programming language.

  • A programming language must be simple, easy to learn and use, have good readability, and be human-recognizable.
  • Abstraction is a must-have characteristic for a programming language in which the ability to define the complex structure and then its degree of usability comes.
  • A portable programming language is always preferred.
  • Programming language’s efficiency must be high so that it can be easily converted into machine code and executed consumes little space in memory.
  • A programming language should be well structured and documented so that it is suitable for application development.
  • Necessary tools for the development, debugging, testing, and maintenance of a program must be provided by a programming language.
  • A programming language should provide a single environment known as Integrated Development Environment(IDE).
  • A programming language must be consistent in terms of syntax and semantics.
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  • Congo - Kinshasa 243
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Types of Programming Languages

There are many types of programming languages used by programmers depending on requirements. Broadly programming languages can be divided into two major categories.

  • Low Level Language
  • High Level Language

High Level Language

A high level language is any programming language that enables the development of a program in a much more user-friendly programming context and is generally independent of the computer’s hardware architecture.

High level languages are designed to be used by the human operator or the programmer. They are referred to as “closer to humans.” In other words, their programming style and context are easier to learn and implement than low-level languages, and the entire code generally focuses on the specific program to be created.

A high level language does not require addressing hardware constraints when developing a program. However, every single program written in a high level language must be interpreted into machine language before being executed by the computer.

BASIC, C/C++, and Java are popular examples of high level languages.

Low Level Language

Low-level languages are designed to operate and handle the entire hardware and instructions set architecture of a computer directly.

Low-level languages are considered to be closer to computers. In other words, their prime function is to operate, manage and manipulate the computing hardware and components. Programs and applications written in a low-level language are directly executable on the computing hardware without any interpretation or translation.

Machine language and assembly language are popular examples of low-level languages.

Benefits of Learning Coding for Kids

Difference Between High Level and Low Level Languages

The main difference between high level language and low level language is that programmers can easily understand or interpret or compile high level language in comparison to machines. On the other hand, machines can easily understand low level language in comparison to human beings.

The difference between high level and low level languages are

High Level LanguageLow Level Language
It is a programmer-friendly languageIt is a machine-friendly language
High level language is less memory efficientLow level language is highly memory efficient
It is easy to understand for humansIt is tough to understand for humans
It is simple to debugIt is complex to debug comparatively
It is simple to maintainIt is complex to maintain comparatively
It is portableIt is non-portable
It can run on any platformIt is machine-dependent
It needs a compiler or interpreter for translationIt needs an assembler for translation
It is used widely for programmingIt is not commonly used nowadays in programming

Practice Problems

  1. What is a Programming Language?
  2. What are the characteristics of a good programming language?
  3. What is meant by a high level language?
  4. What is meant by a low level language?
  5. Write down the differences between high level and low level language.

FAQs

What is a programming language?

A programming language is a computer language programmers use to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers to execute.

What is a High Level programming language?

A high-level language is any programming language that enables the development of a program in a much more user-friendly programming context and is generally independent of the computer’s hardware architecture.

What is a Low Level programming language?

Low-level languages are designed to operate and handle the entire hardware and instructions set architecture of a computer directly.

Conclusion

A programming language is a computer language programmers use to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers to execute. The programming languages are of two types. The first are the ones closer to the machine and is called low level languages and the second is high level languages that are understandable to humans. 

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