Different Categories of Programming Languages
There are some statistical facts that there are around 9000 programming languages today, including the earliest ones which seem outdated. It is a large number when compared to the number of human languages, and it is obvious that the total beginners fail to differentiate them. As a matter of fact, there are many categories by which programming languages can be classified. This article focuses on these main categories which group languages according to similar features, as well as their function.
Procedural programming languages
This group of programming languages follows a certain procedure, that is to say, they execute the sequence of statements that lead to a result. In other words, these languages solve the problem by following the strict procedure which has been set up.
Procedural languages deal with a great number of variables, as well as numerous loops and other elements typical of statically-typed languages. When it comes to their functions, their functions can modify variables and have side effects, while not showing return functional values.
Functional programming languages
Functional programming languages use very little data from stored states, and they rather focus on recursive functions by avoiding loops. Contrary to procedural programming languages, functional languages focus on return functional values, while they try to avoid side effects and state storage. The called function isn’t expected to modify any variables or do any output performance, yet it can make recursive calls and change its parameters. Their syntax is less complex and these languages are suitable for solving abstract problems. They do not rely on the machine, which makes the comprehension of machine coding hard. It may appear problematic to figure out how the code is transferred into the machine language, and it can be an issue for system programming.
Object-oriented languages and programming
Those who use object-oriented languages have to bear in mind that their perspective on the outer world should be directed in this way: the world is full of objects having internal data and external means for reaching that data. The solutions to problems should be viewed as the division of different objects which offer various services which can solve the problem. Object-oriented languages follow the rule of encapsulation: the objects possess all the necessary elements and solutions within themselves. These languages also encourage reusability through inheritance and the opportunity for extending their implementations.
These languages possess the elements of both procedural and object-oriented languages. They are categorized separately for the specific reasons – scripting languages are not planned to be full-fledged and to support large system development. The syntax they use is simple but very prone to confusion.
These languages give programmers the freedom to make declarative statements. The computers have to analyze the consequences of these statements. In other words, logical languages do not dictate the way computers should do something, they will rather place limitations on what they should consider doing.
Finally, it can appear impractical to strictly categorize languages into groups. The greatest number of languages operate with features of various nature and use elements from different categories. These ‘melting points’ add up to their usefulness within terms of modern programming.