Atma Xplorer

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Guide to Programming Series: Week 2

High-level Languages

High Level Programming languages are easily defined by their easy to read syntaxes. By making programming languages look more like ordinary human languages, development and debugging became so much easier. FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, Pascal, Ada are the earliest examples of High Level Programming Languages.

FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) was designed specifically for mathematical calculations. Another early high-level language was COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), which was designed for business data processing. But because these served specialized purposes, most people found programming was still too difficult, which led specialists to create Pascal and BASIC to teach people programming.

BASIC ” Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code ” was designed to teach complete novices how to program. Beginners who have tried C, but were discouraged by it’s found themselves at home with BASIC. The main advantage of BASIC is, well it’s basic. To print the words “Hello sylv3rblade!” on-screen, you need only the one following command:

PRINT "Hello sylv3rblade!"

Pretty basic right?

Pascal (named after Blaise Pascal) is another language designed to help beginners learn how to program. IMHO, Pascal is the best programming language to start with because it offers an easy to read syntax while providing a structured implementation of coding. Some people hate this because if forces them into convention but personally, I think it’s a good way to get you into the habit of planning out programs instead of coding them on the fly. It will take a bit longer than usual but if you wanted to add or modify functions in your program, it’ll save you the effort of backtracking and modifying parts that you otherwise won’t need to.

Here’s the sample code for Pascal:

Program Message (Input, Output);


Writeln ("Hello sylv3rblade!");


A few reasons to choose High-Level Programming languages are:

  • Write and modify programs faster
  • Much gentler learning curve
  • Protects crashing your computer with your OWN programs
  • Portability

High-Level Languages have their own share of quirks:

  • High-level programs are a lot larger and slower than compared to low-level equivalents.
  • High-level languages ahve limited access to your computer. Although it keeps you safe, more complex programs are ultimately more difficult to develop.
  • High-level languages need more complex compilers

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