High-Level vs. Low-Level Programming Languages, Explained

Here’s some machine code:

 169 1 160 0 153 0 128 153 0 129 153 130 153 0 131 200 208 241 96

Could you read this code and understand what the script might do? The computer knows, but it’s not close to human language.

When you write machine code you need to specify clear directions. For example, if a piece of information needs to be retrieved from memory, the machine code will need to tell the computer where to find it. Machine code is by far the fastest code to write, as well as the most difficult to create programs with.

Assembly language is another low-level language that is a step above machine code. Assembly language features very small amounts of abstraction but is similar to machine code. It’s less common than a language like C but is a step above machine code.

The C Programming languageĀ is a popular choice for coders. While not as low as an assembly language, C hovers close to machine code. Most operations written in C can work with a small number of machine code instructions.

Characteristics of C Programming That Make It Unique (And Better)The C programming language is the mother of all modern programming languages. Almost every language in use today includes several features which first appeared in the C language.

High-Level Programming Languages

High-level languages feature abstraction. These languages are very readable and are much easier to use as a result. Here is a sample of Python code that is much easier to decipher than a piece of machine code:

def addNumbers(Num1,Num2):
    return Num1 + Num2
addNumbers(4,5)
>> 9

It’s a simple function that takes two numbers and returns the result. You know exactly what you’re getting, you can read it like a book. You also don’t have to manage memory to run this program on your computer.

Variables, objects, routines, and loops are all important parts of high-level languages. This is the abstraction that makes them easy to use.

Assembly language has a nearly one-to-one correspondence between its commands and machine code commands. A higher-level language is able to send dozens of commands with a single line of code.

Each high-level language has its own way of writing syntax, and you might find that some are easier to read than others.

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