Programming Languages: C++, Java, Python and Others

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  • 0:06 Programming Languages
  • 0:40 C, C++ and C#
  • 3:41 Perl, Ruby and Python
  • 5:28 Java and JavaScript
  • 6:14 Other Languages
  • 7:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

There are hundreds of different programming languages, but only a few of them are really popular. Learn about some of the most widely used programming languages and what they are being used for in this video lesson.

Programming Languages

A program is a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do in order to come up with a solution to a particular problem. Programs are written in a language that computers can understand, known as programming language. Each programming language has its own syntax, which consists of a set of rules that dictate how words and symbols can be put together to form a program. There are hundreds of different programming languages, each with their own logic and syntax. Only a few of them are really popular, but a programmer can easily use a dozen or more languages during a career.

C, C++, and C#

C is a general purpose programming language with a long history. C is used for many different types of software, but it is particularly popular for system software, such as operating systems, device drivers and telecommunications applications. C is widely used because it runs very fast. It can also access a computer system's low level functions; this means it is closer to the hardware than some other programming languages. C has become an official standard of the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI. Many other programming languages borrow syntax from C.

C++ is a high-level programming language that builds on its predecessor C by adding object-oriented features to it. C++ is very versatile and can be used for many different applications. C++ is also an official ANSI standard. C++ is used widely for applications that rely more heavily on a graphical user interface, or GUI. For example, many utility programs and device drivers are written in C, while applications software with many user dialogs are written in C++. The name C++ represents the evolution of the C language because the two plus symbols represent the increment operator in C.

C# is a programming language designed by Microsoft. It combines the functionality of C and C++ with Visual Basic. C# is used on many operating systems, not just Windows. C# is one of the languages used in the Microsoft .NET framework. While C++ supports both object-oriented programming and procedural programming, C# is strictly an object-oriented programming language. The name C# was inspired by musical notation where a sharp indicates that the note should be made a semitone higher in pitch. The sharp symbol also resembles the combination of four plus symbols to suggest that the language is an increment of C++.

The Microsoft .NET framework is a programming infrastructure created by Microsoft. It is also referred to as Visual Studio .NET. It is used for building many different types of applications, such as desktop software applications and web services. The .NET framework makes it possible for different programming languages to work together. However, C# is the language specifically developed to create code for the .NET framework.

Objective-C is also derived from C and has been adapted by Apple to develop applications for the Mac OS and iOS operating systems. Objective-C has therefore become very popular for mobile phone apps. The name Objective-C was chosen to make it clear that this was an object-oriented language with its origins in the C language.

Perl, Ruby, and Python

A number of programming languages are referred to as scripting languages. Scripting is used to automate tasks which would otherwise be done manually by a computer user. Scripting typically extends the functionality of existing software, but it is not used to create stand-alone software applications from scratch. Scripting is sometimes referred to as 'glue code' since it is widely used to connect system components.

Scripting languages are typically interpreted languages, which means they do not need to be compiled before they can be executed. This makes it easier to code, test and run a script very quickly. Scripting is widely used for behind-the-scenes jobs, such as file processing and system administration, web scripting and networking programming. Some of the most widely used scripting languages are Perl, Ruby and Python. In comparison to languages such as C and C++, these languages are relatively recent. They are also free and open-source software, meaning that anyone is freely licensed to use, share and change the software.

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