Elementary Programming Principles

Levels of Programming Languages

By the end of the lesson you should be able to: Classify programming languages as of various levels

Low-level languages

These are languages that can easily be understood by the computer either directly or needs less effort to translate to object code. They include: Machine and Assembly language

The low level languages are divided into :

  1. first generation: machine language
  2. second generation:assembly language

High-level languages

These are languages that require either a compiler or interpereter to convert them to machine. They are very close to english and are easily understood by humans. These languages are machine independent.

High-level languages are divided into:

  • Third generation Languages(3GLs)
  • Fourth Generation Languages(4GLs)
  • Fifth Generation Languages(5GLs)
  • Object Oreineted Languages(OOPs)
  • Web Scripting Languages

Third Generation Languages (3GLs)

Breaks a problem into parts called modules which are implemented by functions. This is called procedural or structured programming.


  • Pascal
  • C
  • Ada

Fourth Generation Languages

These gives the programmer tools to create forms and form controls. This is followed by even driven programming that makes building of applications faster.


  • Java
  • Visual Basic
  • Delphi Pascal
  • Visual COBOL

Fifth generation languages

Are designed to make computer solve a particular problem without the computer programmer. There are conditions in place that must be met. Such programming languages include:

  • OPS5
  • Mercury
  • LISP

Object Oriented Programming

Here a problem is divided into classes that has properties and behavious. Then object are defined as per these classes.

Examples include:

C++, Java, Python etc.