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Programming Language

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Programming Language

A programming language is a system of notation for writing computer programs.[1] Most programming languages are text-based formal languages, but they may also be graphical. They are a kind of computer language.

The description of a programming language is usually split into the two components of syntax (form) and semantics (meaning), which are usually defined by a formal language. Some languages are defined by a specification document (for example, the C programming language is specified by an ISO Standard) while other languages (such as Perl) have a dominant implementation that is treated as a reference. Some languages have both, with the basic language defined by a standard and extensions taken from the dominant implementation being common.

The term computer language is sometimes used interchangeably with programming language.[2] However, the usage of both terms varies among authors, including the exact scope of each. One usage describes programming languages as a subset of computer languages.[3] Similarly, languages used in computing that have a different goal than expressing computer programs are generically designated computer languages. For instance, markup languages are sometimes referred to as computer languages to emphasize that they are not meant to be used for programming.[4]One way of classifying computer languages is by the computations they are capable of expressing, as described by the theory of computation. The majority of practical programming languages are Turing complete,[5] and all Turing complete languages can implement the same set of algorithms. ANSI/ISO SQL-92 and Charity are examples of languages that are not Turing complete, yet are often called programming languages.[6][7] However, some authors restrict the term "programming language" to Turing complete languages.[1][8]

Another usage regards programming languages as theoretical constructs for programming abstract machines and computer languages as the subset thereof that runs on physical computers, which have finite hardware resources.[9] John C. Reynolds emphasizes that formal specification languages are just as much programming languages as are the languages intended for execution. He also argues that textual and even graphical input formats that affect the behavior of a computer are programming languages, despite the fact they are commonly not Turing-complete, and remarks that ignorance of programming language concepts is the reason for many flaws in input formats.[10]

In most practical contexts, a programming language involves a computer; consequently, programming languages are usually defined and studied this way.[11] Programming languages differ from natural languages in that natural languages are only used for interaction between people, while programming languages also allow humans to communicate instructions to machines.

The domain of the language is also worth consideration. Markup languages like XML, HTML, or troff, which define structured data, are not usually considered programming languages.[12][13][14] Programming languages may, however, share the syntax with markup languages if a computational semantics is defined. XSLT, for example, is a Turing complete language entirely using XML syntax.[15][16][17] Moreover, LaTeX, which is mostly used for structuring documents, also contains a Turing complete subset.[18][19]

Programming languages usually contain abstractions for defining and manipulating data structures or controlling the flow of execution. The practical necessity that a programming language support adequate abstractions is expressed by the abstraction principle.[20] This principle is sometimes formulated as a recommendation to the programmer to make proper use of such abstractions.[21]

Slightly later, programs could be written in machine language, where the programmer writes each instruction in a numeric form the hardware can execute directly. For example, the instruction to add the value in two memor


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