This is a question that gets asked a lot. Programmers and developers, from across the world, are often bombarded with this question, “Why are there so many programming languages?” and “Are they all necessary?”. The truth is, any developer worth his/her code, will admit that while so many languages are not necessary they sure make coding more convenient. As the coding world has developed, each language that is invented is tailor-made for specific purposes and to solve certain key problems.
Also, new languages that come into the picture often try to overcome the problems and shortcomings in old languages. New languages also try to introduce new features and explore areas that were left untouched by the old programmes. Then, there is also the question of aesthetics. Some developers will prefer one language over the other simply because they are better-adjusted to them and they like the style of one particular language.
Let’s take a look at a few common languages and their uses:
One of the most widely used programming languages of all times, C is a compiled language. This means that it generates machine code from source code rather than execute source code step by step without translation. In C, the code is treated as a sequence of instructions.
Used In: C is used in products where speed is of utmost importance. Therefore, it is used in operating systems and games.
Like C, C++ too is a compiled language but unlike it, it is object-oriented. Object orientation means that the code is grouped into specific methods that act on a set of classes of objects that are suited to it. C++ also enables low-level memory manipulation.
Used In: Games, desktop applications, e-commerce, web search or SQL servers, and performance critical applications like telephone switches and space probes.
An object-oriented, imperative, and compiled language, Java comes with an added feature. It has a virtual machine that enables programs to be compiled into a generalised Java bytecode. This ensures that the same Java program can run on different hardware components, eliminating the need to compile it every time. Also, Java makes memory management possible through a feature called Garbage Collector.
Used In: Application platforms and computing platforms like embedded devices, mobile phones, supercomputers and enterprise services.
One of those languages that focuses on code readability, Python is aimed at making life way easier for the coder. It wants to make programming possible with fewer lines of code and enables programs on a small and big level. What makes coding simple with Python is that it comes with an interpreter that allows you to run the code without compiling it. You will be able to read, evaluate, print and loop programs with ease and it makes for a great sketching board for programs. Programmes like PHP, Perl and Ruby are similar to Python.
Used In: Web development, 3D software, scientific and numeric computing
One of the oldest languages, LISP is a family of computer programming languages and works a bit differently. It works on the tenet of functional programming where the program is not a series of instructions but a series of mathematical functions. Also, it is one of those rare languages that can be manipulated and transformed very easily.
Used In: Artificial intelligence, animation and graphics, and data mining.