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

SearchCompliance

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

SearchSecurity

  • buffer underflow

    Buffer underflow, also known as buffer underrun or buffer underwrite, is a threat to data that typically occurs when the ...

  • digital signature

    A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software or digital...

  • denial-of-service attack

    A denial-of-service attack is a security event that occurs when an attacker prevents legitimate users from accessing specific ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

SearchStorage

  • secondary storage

    Secondary storage is storage for noncritical data that does not need to be frequently accessed.

  • Pure Storage

    Pure Storage is a provider of enterprise data flash storage solutions designed to substitute for electromechanical disk arrays.

  • yobibyte (YiB)

    A yobibyte (YiB) is a unit of measure used to describe data capacity as part of the binary system of measuring computing and ...

Close