What is a Programming Language?


A programming language is a set of codes that we can use to give a computer instructions to follow.

  Popular and well-known programming languages include Java, C++, COBOL, BASIC, LISP, and more. Most popular programming languages consist of words and phrases that are similar in form to the English language.

   A well-written program will be easily readable by anyone with a little programming experience, regardless of whether they have any direct experience of the language in question. This is because modern programming languages share a large number of common concepts. In particular, they all have a notion of variables, arrays, loops, conditionals, and functions. We will meet these concepts again in more depth later in the course.

 Traditionally, programming languages have been used to write(for the most part) “stand-alone” applications. Things like Microsoft Word, Mozilla Firefox, and Lotus Notes are all examples of such applications. Once installed on a PC, these applications run without necessarily requiring any other software to be installed alongside them.

   Web Applications differ from these traditional applications in many respects, but the most striking is that they all run inside your web browser. Examples of popular web applications are things like Google, Hotmail, Flickr, GMail and any of the vast array of “weblogging” systems.

These applications are also written using programming languages, but as a rule they are built using multiple, interdependent technologies. These technologies are easily (though not completely) broken down into two categories: server-side and client-side.

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