All About High Level Language

All About High Level Language

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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Dec 22, 2023 17:01 IST

Any programming language that allows program development in a user friendly programming context and is independent of the hardware architecture. The programming style and context of high level language is easier to learn and implement. Here, the code focuses on specific program that is to be created.


In this article, we will be learning about high level language in detail.

Table of Contents

What is High Level Language?

A high level language is a programming language with a higher amount of abstraction from the details of computer. Such languages use natural language elements which makes them easier to use for developing a program. 

These are the languages that allow humans to write certain computer programs while interacting with a computer system. Such languages do not have the knowledge of the hardware or processor on which the program will run. These programming languages are more problem-oriented than machine oriented.  

High level languages are designed in a manner to handle specific problems. Programs written in these languages consist of every line of code or command that can accomplish several things. This makes these programming languages more convenient due to which programmers can write cleaner and shorter code. Python, C#, C++, Ruby and JavaScript languages are considered high-level programming languages. 


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History of High Level Language

Before the existence of higher level languages, programs used to directly code one instruction at a time in either hexadecimal or binary. This had a number of errors and was an inefficient system. Scientists worked on developing more efficient ways of interacting with computers so that the capabilities of these machines would increase. 

To do so, there needed to be ways for developing methods to communicate and control computers more easily. By the year 1949, a short code was developed that became the basis of assembly language. 

By the year 1957, FORTRAN was one of the first machine language standards that came with a set of rules and guidelines to read syntax. It is the oldest high level general purpose-compiled language that can solve scientific and mathematical problems. 

Also explore the history of Java, another high-level language.

Features of High Level Programming Languages

High-level languages are useful in significant areas of computing systems:

  • Have an easier-to-understand syntax for humans
  • Uses command words that are similar to natural human languages
  • Accomplishes multiple tasks through a single line of code
  • Allows programmers to focus on what the program aims to achieve
  • Translates source code into machine code that the computer can process

Advantages of High Level Programming Language

The following are the advantages of high level programming languages:

  • These are simpler and more understandable than low level languages as they use simple English words such as ‘if’, ‘for’ and ‘else’ which makes it easier for humans. 
  • They come with libraries of functions that can be imported and the pre-written codes are used by programmers. 
  • These are portable in nature as they can be compiled and translated to run a range of computer architecture. 
  • The code written in high-level programming languages can be easily read and understood by humans. This reduces the requirement to know all about machine code and computer architecture. 
  • It takes lesser time in the process of developing these languages. Due to the availability of functions, libraries and other resources, coding is faster and more efficient. 

Disadvantages of High Level Programming Language

Although there are many advantages of high level languages, they do have certain disadvantages:

  • Less control over hardware: These have lesser control over hardware resources in comparison with low-level languages. This prevents certain customizations and optimizations.
  • Slow execution: These languages have slower execution than low level languages. This is due to additional processing and interpretation by high level languages. 
  • Complexity: These languages are more complex than low level languages while being used for complex projects. Due to this, maintenance and debugging are more challenging.
  • Compatibility issues: These have issues related to compatibility with operating systems which limits their use in specific environments.

Types of High Level Languages

  1. Java: It is an object oriented and high level language that is platform-independent in nature. Any platform that supports Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is capable of running programs written in Java. Using this high level language, one can develop enterprise, web and mobile applications. 
  2. C++: It is a statically typed, case sensitive, general purpose and free-form programming language. C++ is a middle level language that comes with the features of both high and low-level languages.
  3. Python: It is an object-oriented and high-level programming language having dynamic semantics. Python has a high level built-in data structure that allows dynamic typing and binding which makes it useful for Rapid Application Development. 
  4. JavaScript: It is a dynamic programming language that is commonly used in web pages. Here, implementations allow client-side script to interact with users and create dynamic pages. It is an interpreted programming language with object oriented capabilities. 

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What is the Abstraction Penalty in High-Level Languages?

The abstraction penalty refers to the performance cost incurred by high-level languages due to their lack of optimization for specific system architectures. High-level languages often execute more operations than necessary, leading to higher memory consumption and larger binary program sizes.

Can High-Level Languages Be as Efficient as Low-Level Languages?

With the advancement of modern compilers and microprocessor architectures, well-designed high-level languages can often produce code that is comparable in efficiency to what is generated by low-level languages. The abstraction provided by high-level languages can also enable more powerful programming techniques.

What is the Historical Significance of High-Level Languages?

The first high-level programming language that was designed for computers was known as Plankalku00fcl. It was created by Konrad Zuse. However, it was not brought into implementation in his time. The first significantly widespread high-level language was Fortran, developed by IBM.

How Do High-Level Languages Evolve?

High-level languages can evolve from one or more others, often with the goal of aggregating popular constructs with new or improved features. An example is Scala, which maintains backward compatibility with Java.

About the Author
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio