Basics Of Programming Languages: Comprehensive Overview

Basics of Programming Languages: Comprehensive Overview from Syntax to Functions

by Micah James — 3 weeks ago in Development 4 min. read

To start learning about the basics of programming languages, first take the example of the international language – English. In English, every sentence follows a basic structure i.e., subject, object, and verb combine according to grammar rules to complete a sentence. Similarly, coding languages follow a set of rules defined by syntax. The basics of a programming language include:

  1. Syntax
  2. Variables
  3. Data Types
  4. Operators
  5. Conditionals
  6. Functions
  7. Memory Management

What is a Programming Language?

In nonprofessional terms, programming language is the language of computers. Developers use coding languages to communicate with computers, write codes, and make computers work as per their requirements. Two basic categories of programming languages include:

  1. High-Level Languages (Hardware Independent)
  2. Low-Level Languages (Hardware Dependent)

The Role of Programming in Technology

Programming is fundamental to modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and their implementation. Python is widely used to perform data analysis using AI and ML. As the trend of automation is on the rise, programming languages become essential in manufacturing industries as well. Moreover, coding languages play a crucial role in technological advancements linked to the defense and military sectors.

Also read: Top 10 Successful SaaS Companies Of All Times

Key Concepts in Programming Languages

A compiler is software that developers use to write codes in different languages. The compiler translates high-level code to machine-level code, low-level binary code, or binary numbers that the computer understands.

Variables are placeholders to store data values. Every program processes some data to produce the desired output. This data is stored in variables that are defined in the program and held in the computer’s memory.

Functions are reusable pieces of code that take in some data and process it to give the desired output. Functions help make the code short and easy to interpret.

Conditionals are used in code when a decision has to be made based on some conditions. They execute different pieces of code based on the condition.

Loops make programming easy in the sense that they eliminate redundancy in the code. Instead of rewriting the code snippet for repetition, loops perform the repetition with a single line of code.

Memory management is a key concept in programming languages. All the data in the code and the code itself is stored in memory. Therefore, it is essential to manage memory access memory space and avoid memory wastage.

Popular Coding Languages and Their Uses

JavaScript Game development, Web development, Building interactive user interfaces
C Real-time operating systems, Embedded systems, Animations
Assembly Device drivers, Embedded Systems
Python Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Statistics, Data Science
MATLAB Numerical Computing, Simulations, Mathematical Modeling, Data Analysis
C# Windows application development, Game development, Web browser
PHP Server-side web development, Dynamic web page creation
SQL Relational database management, Querying database
Java Mobile app development, Enterprise-level applications

Understanding Syntax and Semantics in Programming

Syntax refers to the proper combination of symbols, keywords, variables, operators, and punctuation in the code. The compiler checks the syntax and notifies any errors. Any mistake in the syntax will force the compiler to throw an error without compiling the code. Let’s illustrate this using a simple example code written in C. In C, every command ends with a semicolon. No semicolon indicates a syntax error as illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 1: C Program without syntax error

Semantic refers to the interpretation of code. Semantic ensures whether the code performs its intended functionality or not. Let’s see a Python code meant to add two numbers (8 and 2) in Figure 3. There is no syntax error in this code. However, there is a semantic error. The code actually tries to add two numbers, but the second number (2) is declared as a string and not an integer (line # 5), which makes the code semantically incorrect and thus the error.

Figure 2: C Program with syntax error

Figure 3: Semantic error example in Python

To learn programming, it is a good idea to first focus on the basics mentioned at the start of this article, and practicing these basics helps in understanding semantics and syntax.

Also read: Top 10 IoT Mobile App Development Trends to Expect in 2021

The Evolution of Coding Languages

In 1843, Ada Lovelace wrote the first algorithm intended to run on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, and since then, multiple languages have come into existence. A brief history is given next:

1949 Assembly Language
1952 Autocode
1957 Fortran
1958 Algol
1959 Cobol
1964 Basic
1972 C & SQL
1991 Python
1995 Java, JavaScript
2000 C#
2009 GO
2011 Kotlin
2014 Swift

Newer programming languages (Python and JavaScript) differ from older ones (FORTRAN and C) in the sense that newer coding languages provide better abstraction, modularity, and memory management. Moreover, older programming languages were primarily procedural, whereas newer coding languages allow concurrency and parallelism for the latest multi-core systems support.

Also read: What Does “FedEx Shipment Exception” Status Mean? What To Do & How To Handle It?

Practical Applications of Programming Languages

  1. Embedded Systems Programming
  2. Data Analysis and Machine Learning
  3. Web Development
  4. Robotics
  5. Database Management

So, a journey through the basics of programming languages opens up a fascinating world where languages serve as fundamental tools for shaping the digital landscape. From the elementary concepts of syntax, variables, and data types to the more complex areas of functions, conditions, and memory management, each element plays a key role in creating efficient and effective code. Understanding the nuances of coding languages is like mastering a new form of communication that combines human creativity with machine precision. For those who want to delve into the world of programming or improve their programming skills, the first step is to master the basics outlined in this article. And if you ever need help with your homework or coding projects, turn to for expert advice and support.

In fact, programming language fundamentals are more than just a set of technical skills; they are a lens through which we can see and shape the future of our digital world.

Micah James

Micah is SEO Manager of The Next Tech. When he is in office then love to his role and apart from this he loves to coffee when he gets free. He loves to play soccer and reading comics.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2018 – The Next Tech. All Rights Reserved.