Browse Definitions :
Definition

programming language generations

Contributor(s): Brian Henry

In the computer industry, these abbreviations are widely used to represent major steps or "generations" in the evolution of programming languages.

1GL or first-generation language was (and still is) machine language or the level of instructions and data that the processor is actually given to work on (which in conventional computers is a string of 0s and 1s).

2GL or second-generation language is assembler (sometimes called "assembly") language. A typical 2GL instruction looks like this:

                 ADD    12,8

An assembler converts the assembler language statements into machine language.

3GL or third-generation language is a "high-level" programming language, such as PL/I, C, or Java. Java language statements look like this:

public boolean handleEvent (Event evt) {
            switch (evt.id)  {
                 case Event.ACTION_EVENT:  {
                         if ("Try me" .equald(evt.arg)) {

A compiler converts the statements of a specific high-level programming language into machine language. (In the case of Java, the output is called bytecode, which is converted into appropriate machine language by a Java virtual machine that runs as part of an operating system platform.) A 3GL language requires a considerable amount of programming knowledge.

4GL or fourth-generation language is designed to be closer to natural language than a 3GL language. Languages for accessing databases are often described as 4GLs. A 4GL language statement might look like this:

     EXTRACT ALL CUSTOMERS WHERE "PREVIOUS PURCHASES" TOTAL MORE THAN $1000

5GL or fifth-generation language is programming that uses a visual or graphical development interface to create source language that is usually compiled with a 3GL or 4GL language compiler. Microsoft, Borland, IBM, and other companies make 5GL visual programming products for developing applications in Java, for example. Visual programming allows you to easily envision object-oriented programming class hierarchies and drag icons to assemble program components.

This was last updated in April 2007

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

SearchSecurity

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program downloaded and installed on a computer that appears harmless, but is, in fact, ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

    DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new protocol that encrypts domain name system traffic by passing DNS queries through a ...

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an operating system (OS) that uses hardware and software to allow a computer ...

Close