Main Programming Languages (June 2018)

Published June 2018

Main Programming Languages

I recently visited the Computer Museum in San Francisco. (Near the offices of IBM)

I find it humorous that there is a museum for something only three decades old. Regardless, one of the very many exhibits was an overview of the first computer codes and how the family tree of computer programming has developed. Over 150 000 types of computer programming languages have been invented. I wanted to share in a quick article an overview of the main programming languages being used today.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

In the beginning:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Today, the main codes:


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

C Language:

C Language is a general-purpose, imperative computer programming language.

C Language is a language used for the development of operating systems and firmware. It set the core for the more modern languages like Java and C++. C Language is a precise programming language and assumes its developer to be a master in all its coding elements. It allows the developer control over the low level aspects of a computer, and programs that are developed in C Language run very fast.

C Language is a powerful and widely used language but most of its capabilities can be found in other programming languages. However, a benefit of C Language is that the programs created in this programming language can standalone. This means that programs can run on other machines without a need for the source code; whereas, with many other programming languages, like Matlab, you actually require access to the programming language for the developed program to work.

C Language inspired several of the programming languages available today. For instance, C is the root for C++, Objective C, Perl and JavaScript. This is an important concept to understand as many languages root from other languages. C is the root for C++, which gave us JAVA, which gave us C#.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


C++ is an object-orientated programming language.

C++ is a super programming language, which integrates all the features offered by C Language and more, and is widely used in scripting. C++ has many capabilities and is used across a diverse field of applications. See examples below.

  • C++ is used for gaming development.
  • Graphic user interface based applications.
  • Web browsers.
  • Advance computations and graphics.
  • Database software
  • Enterprise software
  • Medical and engineering applications
  • Compilers

What’s nice about the C++ programming language, derived from its C Language heritage, are the pointers, which are denoted by an * in code. It is easy to use but hard to master. C++ has an “intelligence” reputation so this is to be expected. In the modern world, C++ is most commonly used for graphic interface apps and gaming developments. For many people it is the preferred programming language for the development of games and photo-shop apps, for instance.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Java is used for websites and applications. The language is a multi-purpose language and serves laptops, datacentres, game consoles, scientific super computers, cell phones and the Internet. It is everywhere. Without Java a lot of our applications would not work.

Programmers write instructions, using the Java syntax—the rules that determine how the instructions are written, with English based commands instead of numeric code. When a program is written, the instructions are translated into numeric codes, which computers understand and can therefore execute the instructions.

What is most unique about Java, derived from its C++ heritage, is that it is a programming language designed to produce programs that will run on any computer or device. The unique ideology behind this program is that it is intended to let application developers “write once, run everywhere’’. This basically means that the Java language allows compiled Java code to run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


C# is a multi-Paradigm programming language.

C# was created by Microsoft and is ultimately used in all the Microsoft products. Its primary use is basically for the development of desktop applications, and it also operates within their .net initiative. The C# programming language is, therefore, used beside languages like ASP in web development and apps.

C# has the following capabilities:

  • Type safety
  • Object-orientated
  • Simplified syntax
  • XML Comments
  • Cross-language capabilities
  • Build for mobile, web, cloud, desktop, gaming and I.o.T
  • Language Integrated queries
  • Automatic memory management
  • Familiar syntax for Java and C-style developers
  • .Net supports multiple programming languages

C#, derived from its Java heritage, is a preferred programming language in the development of the I.o.T apps, and what sets C# apart from other programming languages is that it is a purely object-orientated language, which basically means, when writing your programs, you must do so as an object using a class. With an easy to understand syntax, C# has a powerful advantage over C++ and other languages alike. This is because most syntax is more complex and objects are largely optional.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Objective – C:

Objective – C is general, object-orientated programming language.

Objective – C is a strict superset of C. This means C programs can be compiled with an Objective – C compiler, and C language code can be included within an Objective – C class. Objective –C was used by Apple in their OSX and iOS operating systems and their respective application programming interfaces (APIs). Objective - C works based on message passing. You don’t “call a method” you send a message.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


JavaScript is an object-orientated computer language.

JavaScript is a programming language for the web and is supported by most web browsers as well as most mobile browsers for smartphones. JavaScript is typically written into an HTML page and works to enhance a webpage. JavaScript is a big part of the internet and is everywhere, much like Java. It was rooted in C language, as was Java, and forms part of the three core technologies of the World Wide Web; the other two being HTML and CSS.

To put it simply, HTML defines the page; text and graphics and so forth.

CSS is used for styling and customizing look.

Javascript is used to add dynamic components to web pages and enables them to be interactive.

JavaScript allows you to define your own classes, define and invoke functions, store and retrieve values as well as declares variables, to name just a few.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language.

Perl was originally developed to make report processing easier. Today, common uses of Perl are to extract information from text files and print reports, or convert text files into other forms. The language offers many tools for system programming and other complexities. The execution of a Perl script commonly uses more CPU time than a corresponding C program because it is implemented as an interpreted language.

Some of Perl’s most common uses include:

  • Bio Informatics
  • Databases
  • Email handling with Perl
  • Games and Multimedia
  • Graphic user interface (GUI) development
  • Multi-tasking and networking
  • Quality assurance and testing
  • System administration
  • Text generation
  • Web automation
  • Web and CGI programming
  • XML manipulation

Perl is a family of high-level programming languages and with or without its Perl 5 and Perl6 integrations, offer a remarkable time benefit and will save you time as opposed to writing something in C. However, interestingly, C Language is a root of Perl, and Perl a roof of Python, PHP and Ruby.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Python is a general-purpose programming language.

Python has many functions, but like all programming languages, it was designed to translate computing instructions. However, it has a vast library of instructions and can accommodate several different application tasks. See some examples below.

  • To automate tasks, you need Python. PaintShop Pro, which is largely a graphic oriented task app, allows users to enhance and edit images. This app relies on Python programming to execute its tasks.
  • Online Gaming. Python can accommodate Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) on both the server and client end.
  • Upgrading firmware over a network connection. Python can create a multithreaded application to drive updates to the intended devices. This means, using Python, updates can be made to several devices through one machine.
  • Python has air traffic control capabilities and is used by some airliners for weather updates and runway conditions.
  • It also has sequencing language, in which it can tell robotic automation what steps each must take to fulfil its intended purpose.
  • Python interacts with other languages successfully, especially C++.

Python can compute weather forecasts produced by thousands of forecasters each day and compare it against actual climate data and determine their accuracy. What is interesting about this function is that the code that is used to make these comparisons is much smaller than would be through programming languages like Java or PHP.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


PHP is a server-side scripting language.

PHP is a superior server-side language in the sense that it is a preferred language, owed to its capabilities. It is primarily used for web development and can be embedded into HTML but is also used as a general-purpose programming language. While PHP’s development can be diverse in its usage, it is has a primary emphasis on server-side scripting, but has three main focus areas.

  • Server-Side Scripting.
  • Command Line Scripting.
  • Writing Desktop Applications.
  • Outputting images, PDF files and even flash movies and easily any text.

PHP code is executed on the server, generating HTML and is a well-known easy to use language but also offers many advance features. Additionally, PHP can be used on all major operating systems. So you have the freedom to choose an operating system and webserver and you are not restricted to output HTML.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Ruby is a dynamic, reflective, objective-orientated, general-purpose programming language.

Ruby has a range of different computing capabilities such as web application abilities similar to that of Python and Perl. Not surprisingly as Ruby is rooted from Perl as is Python. However, it is most commonly used by developers for the development of websites. Because of Ruby’s search capabilities, it is a great development option for E-Commerce websites as well. Another great feature of Ruby is its data storage abilities. Meaning that on a given database, like Twitter, it can store data after a user has navigated away from the page or closed the browser and can produce, update, store and fetch the data on that database.

What is interesting about Ruby is that it has a framework called Rails, which speeds up development by including pre-built code, templates and easy ways to perform these tasks. Additionally, Ruby has the ability to summarise and simplify common repetitive tasks.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Enterprise Recourse Planning (ERP):

Enterprise Recourse Planning is an advanced business application programming technology.

Enterprise Recourse Planning is business software which has been designed to record and manage enterprise data. It is a system that automates and integrates core business processes and incorporates a coordination that focuses on company effectiveness. Some of the processes possible with Enterprise Recourse Planning are taking customer orders, scheduling operations and keeping inventory records and financial data.

The implementation of Enterprise Recourse Planning can result in big improvements through the following functions:

  • Assisting in essential business processes and assuring they are complied with throughout the supply chain.
  • Protecting critical business data through well-defined roles and security access.
  • Plan workloads based on existing orders and forecasts.
  • Providing tools to execute a high level of service.
  • Translating data into decision-making information.

The system offers integration across all business processes, which enhances productivity and increases overall performance. It does quality reports and performance analysis, and integrates across the entire supply chain.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Advance Business Application Programming (ABAP):

Advance Business Application Programming is a high-level, fourth generation, application specific programming language.

Advance Business Application Programming (ABAP) is a programming language which was created and used by SAP for the development of applications, reports, module pool programming, interfaces, forms, data conversions and user exits. Reports refer to programs that manipulate data in a list-orientated manner. The language runs in the SAP ABAP runtime environment used by SAP.

ABAP was created by SAP and is therefore the programming language for the development and modification of SAP applications. The widely used R/3 system was developed in ABAP and first released by SAP.

Unlike C++ and Java, ABAP programs reside in the SAP database, as opposed to being stored in external files like many other programming languages. The runtime system is responsible for processing ABAP statements, controlling the flow logic of screens and responding to events, such as user clicks on a screen button.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing (SAP):

SAP is a software developing program.

SAP is the largest software developer for business applications. SAP assists businesses in the development of software designed to drive business management and productivity forward as well as integrate systems that work easily and efficiently. It focuses on financial and administrative solutions as well as manufacturing, sales, distribution and operations essential to human resources. It provides mainframe and client/server systems in which an entire enterprise can be integrated and work in a network type environment.

A benefit of SAP is that the program can be purchased in parts to address or accommodate the specific business model that is in need of the product. Another great feature of SAP is its data capturing capabilities. The overall benefit is that in implementing the business programming offered and made possible with SAP, ERP and ABAP is that it is computerised intelligence driven to help with all the facets of successful business planning, operations, manufacturing, sales, distribution and other business operating functionalities.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


SQL is a structured query and domain-specific language.

SQL is used for programming and managing data held in relational database management systems (RDBMS) or stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS). The language uses commands to manipulate data in databases. For example, SQL INSERT, SQL SELECT and SQL UPDATE, which are used to add and retrieve data from database tables or modify existing database records. Ultimately, its primary purpose is to retrieve data or interface with relational databases.

SQL is primarily useful in handling structural data in which there are relations between different variables of the data and offers two primary advantages over older write/read APIs.

  • It introduces the concept of assessing many records with one single command.
  • It eliminates the need to specify how to reach a record.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Common Business Orientated Language (COBOL):

COBOL is a computer programming language.

COBOL is a computer programming language that was designed for business use. The language is imperative, procedural and object oriented and is primarily used in business, finance and administrative systems for companies, corporations and governments.

Unfortunately, with the speed in which technologies are improving and modernizing to next level products, the popularity of COBOL has declined. As a result, programs are being migrated to new platforms, rewritten in modern languages or replaced with software packages. With this in perspective, however, COBOL is still widely used in legacy applications positioned on mainframe computers, and is primarily used to maintain existing applications.

Despite its decline in popularity, COBOL offers some very unique functions. Just one of its great features is that it uses English words and phrases to make it easier for ordinary users to understand, unlike many other high-level programming languages.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


BASIC is a general-purpose, high level programming language.

The language was designed in the1960s and was intended to be an easy programming language and is also for teaching programming concepts. The creators of the language wanted students other than scientists and mathematicians to use computers. As noted on Wikipedia, at the time, nearly all use of computers required custom software, which ultimately only people in scientific and mathematical fields tended to learn.

So BASIC served as a programming language which was easy to learn and use by people who did not have the scientific and mathematical backgrounds previously required to write mainframe computer programs. BASIC inspired many other versions, of which Visual Basic is one and the longest standing.

An interesting fact about BASIC is that between the 1960s and 70s several computer games were written in BASIC; the most notable being Star Trek.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Visual Basic:

Visual Basic is a third-generation event driven programming language and integrated development environment. It derives from BASIC and is from Microsoft.

Visual Basic, like BASIC, was designed to be easily learned and used. The language uses a drag-and-drop system when programing. In light of this, Visual Basic allows programmers to visually arrange components or controls on a form (by using the drag-and-drop system), specifying characteristics and actions for those components. For more functionality one can write additional lines of code.

What is great about Visual Basic is that it defines default attributes and actions so a programmer can develop a simple program without much use of code.

Interestingly, in 2008 Microsoft stop supporting Visual Basic but many developers still preferred VB over its descendant, Visual Basic. Net. However, the Microsoft Basic Visual team still maintains compatibility in the programs that used Basic Visual.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Pascal is a high-level structured computer programming language used for teaching and general programming.

Pascal is commonly the first language programmers learn. This is because despite the language being reliable and proficient, its primary use is to teach programming techniques. The language supports structured programming and data structures, which influences good programming practices. Pascal inspired the Delphi programming language, which is often called Delphi Pascal. As part of its charm, Pascal is a procedural programing language, which also contributes to the learning aspect of using the program. Both Pascal and Delphi are legacy programs but are still used and closely related, as Delphi makes use of Pascal based programming. The original Pascal language is a basic one and later variants of the original version were created to incorporate more capabilities. One such variant is Object Pascal.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Delphi is a high level language, which supports object-orientated design.

Delphi is for rapid application development of desktop, mobile, web and console software. The Delphi language is used on Windows as well as Linux. Delphi derived from Pascal. Kylix is a version of Delphi for Linux, which was released because originally the first versions of Delphi could only run on Windows. New versions with other names became available and which offered more enhancement capabilities. However, each new version is compatible with its predecessor.

Visual Basic, with its drag-and-drop function, as well as other easy functions is one of the easier programming languages to learn and Delphi’s interface shares a large resemblance so that of VB so programmers can use Delphi just as effectively.


Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist


Published June 2018

Read more articles


  • While I attempt to ensure information is accurate and up-to-date at time of publication, I will not accept liability should information be used, and found to be incorrect. If you do see an error, please let me know.
  • The links, images, videos and/ or text from this article are not necessarily under my direct management, ownership or care. Should you be the owner or manager of any content herein, and wish for the content to be removed, please let me know and it will be done.