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ICT Applications

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Computer Languages

Computer language or programming language is a coded syntax used by computer programmers to communicate with a computer. Computer language establishes a flow of communication between software programs. The language enables a computer user to dictate what commands the computer must perform to process data. These languages can be classified into following categories.

1. Machine language

2. Assembly language

3. High level language

Machine Language

Machine language or machine code is the native language directly understood by the computer’s central processing unit or CPU. This type of computer language is not easy to understand, as it only uses a binary system, an element of notations containing only a series of numbers consisting of one and zero, to produce commands.

Assembly Level Language

Assembly Level Language is a set of codes that can run directly on the computer’s processor. This type of language is most appropriate in writing operating systems and maintaining desktop applications. With the assembly level language, it is easier for a programmer to define commands. It is easier to understand and use as compared to machine language.

High Level Language

High Level Languages are user-friendly languages which are similar to English with vocabulary of words and symbols. These are easier to learn and require less time to write.

They are problem oriented rather than ‘machine’ based.

Program written in a high-level language can be translated into many machine language and therefore can run on any computer for which there exists an appropriate translator.

Compiler & Interpreter

These are the programs that execute instructions written in a high-level language. There are two ways to run programs written in a high-level language. The most common is to compile the program; the other method is to pass the program through an interpreter.

a. Compiler

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A compiler is a special program that processes statements written in a particular programming language called as source code and converts them into machine language or “machine code” that a computer’s processor uses.

Compiler translates high level language programs directly into machine language program. This process is called compilation.

b. Interpreter

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An interpreter translates high-level instructions into an intermediate form, which it then executes. Compiled programs generally run faster than interpreted programs. The advantage of an interpreter, however, is that it does not need to go through the compilation stage during which machine instructions are generated. This process can be time-consuming if the program is long.

Open source software:

Open source refers to a program or software in which the source code (the form of the program when a programmer writes a program in a particular programming language) is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge.

Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community.

The rationale for this movement is that a larger group of programmers not concerned with proprietary ownership or financial gain will produce a more useful and bug-free product for everyone to use.

The basics behind the Open Source Initiative is that when programmers can read, redistribute and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. Open source sprouted in the technological community as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations.

Proprietary software is privately owned and controlled. In the computer industry, proprietary is considered the opposite of open. A proprietary design or technique is one that is owned by a company. It also implies that the company has not divulged specifications that would allow other companies to duplicate the product.

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