With the popularity and advancements in web technology, it is imperative for every business to have a website and one which is highly functional and visually attractive. The process through which a good website, mobile apps or other similar platforms are created is known as web development.
One of the most integral aspects of web development is web programming that is achieved with the help of programming languages. Web development languages are the platforms through which instructions are communicated to a machine and actions are pursued.
In this article, we shall learn more about 1) web development and programming languages as well as 2) focus on the most popular programming languages in the world.
WEB DEVELOPMENT: AN INTRODUCTION
Web development is a term that is used to refer to the process of creating a website and can range from developing a single simple page to a series of complex pages. Web development encompasses several actions or practices and some of them include web design, content creation, programming, network security tasks as well as client side or server side scripting, etc. In the recent few years, web development has taken the definition of the creation of content management systems or CMS, which is the mid-step between the user and the database. In order to pursue web development as a profession, one of the most important things that you will need to consider is having expertise in programming languages.
WHAT ARE PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES?
A programming language is used to control the actions of a machine. Such a language is a properly drafted or constructed language when it is designed in such a way that through it instructions can be communicated to a computer system. Ever since the invention of computers, thousands of programming languages have been created, and more are being created every year.
A programming language is generally split into two components that are the semantics and the syntax. Where on one hand the syntax is the form or type, the semantics are the meaning of that type or form. Every programming language is different; where on one hand, some may be marked by a specification documents, others may have a dominant implementation or a reference. A programming language thus broadly is a notation that helps to write programs that are identified as an algorithm.
Traits of a programming language
The features or characteristics of a programming language can be referred to as its traits. The following are the three main traits of such languages that you must know about:
- Abstractions – Most of the programming languages have certain rules that help us define or mark the data structures as well as manipulate the way in which the commands are executed. These rules are referred to as abstractions. Every language needs to be supported by sufficient abstractions and this need is defined by the abstraction principle. The abstraction principle in some cases is derived as the recommendations given to a web programmer so that he/she makes the correct use of abstractions.
- Function and target – When you make use of a programming language, then besides doing the writing work on your own, you also need the help of the computer system that performs the computation work or controls the algorithm. The computer also controls the external devices associated such as the printer, the robots, etc. Thus, the complete definition of a programming language includes a description or a machine or processor that has been idealized for that language. This is one reason why programming languages differ from human languages of interaction.
- Expressive power – Languages are mostly classified by the computations that they are able to express. This very expressive power is yet another trait of programming languages and is an important one.
Factors to be considered when choosing a programming language
Since there are so many different types of programming languages, it can be difficult for a web developer to select which one to use and which one to leave. There are certain factors on the basis of a decision can be made, and they are given as follows:
- Targeted platform – The first thing you need to decide is where the program will be run. Not all languages are capable of running on all kinds of platforms. For example, a program written in C language requires compilers to run on Windows and Linux based systems.
- Language domain match – The language must be chosen on the basis of the problem domain that you have. One of the better ways to do so is by searching that language others in the same domain or industry are using or by trying to look for a code that resolves the issues that you may have.
- Efficiency – The compilers that go well with the language you choose must be efficient so as to make the language perform fast.
- Elasticity and Performance – The language you choose must be flexible enough to let you add more programs or features in it. Also, its overall performance must be to your suitability and liking.
- Availability of libraries – There must be a library that is capable of solving all your problems with the language that you select for web development.
- Project size – There are two types of programming’s: large and small. You must select a language that can support your cause and suits the project size well.
- Expressiveness & Time to production – Make sure you pick that language that is highly expressive and the time taken to produce the programs or codes is not very bothersome to you.
- Tool support – Buy a tool-oriented language that offers you many elements and ways to edit, control and work.
THE MOST POPULAR PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES
Top 15 programming languages in 2015
- Objective C
Let’s learn about some of these top languages in detail.
Java is yet another highly popular and widely used language that you can consider for web development. This language is an object-oriented, class-based and concurrent language that was developed by Sun Microsystems in the 1990s. Since then, the language continues to be the most in-demand language that also acts as a standard platform for enterprises and several mobile and games developers across the world. The app has been designed in such a way that it works across several types of platforms. This means that if a program is written on Mac Operating system then it can also run on Windows based operating systems.
Java, when it was designed originally, was developed for interactive television, but the developers realized that this language and technology was way too forward for this industry. It was only later that it was incorporated into the use it serves today.
Every language is created with a certain mission, goal or objective in mind. The following are the 5 major principles or goals that were kept in mind during the creation of this language:
- It must be a secure and robust programming language
- It must be an object-oriented, simple language which becomes familiar soon.
- It must be capable of being implemented and executed with high performance.
- It must be threaded, dynamic and interpreted.
- It must be portable and architecture-neutral.
Python is a highly used and all-purpose programming language which is dynamic in nature. Being dynamic in nature means that you as a developer can write and run the code without the need of a compiler. The design of the language is such that it supports code readability which means that its syntax is such that only a few lines of codes are needed to express a point or a concept. This concept of code readability is also possible in the case of Java and C++, etc. This is a high-level or advanced language that is considered easy for beginners to understand and learn.
Some of the apps that are powered by Python are Rdio, Instagram, and Pinterest. Besides this, some other web platforms that are supported by Python are Django, Google, NASA, and Yahoo, etc. Some of the other features of this language include automatic memory management, large library, dynamic type system and support of many paradigms.
Python works on a core philosophy and follows its main principles in all seriousness. The language was designed with the aim of making it highly extensible. This means that the language can easily be incorporated or embedded in existing applications. The goal of the developers of this language was to make it fun to use one. The developers worked on the language in such a way that it could reduce upon premature optimization. Here’s a look at some of the principles that have been summarized for you:
- Readability is important
- Complex is better than complicated-
- Beautiful is better than ugly
- Simple is better than complex
- Explicit is better than implicit
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is rather a markup language. When paired with HTML, CSS allow a developer to decide and define how a web page or a website will eventually look or how it will appear to the visitors of the web platform. Some of the elements which CSS has an impact on include font size, font style, the overall layout, the colors and other design elements. This is a markup language that can be applied to several types of documents including Plain XML documents, SVG documents as well as XUL documents. For most websites across the world, CSS is the platform to opt for if they need help to create visually attractive webpages and finds use not just in the creation of web applications but also mobile apps.
The language’s syntax is pretty similar to that of HTML and XHTML, which work well in synchronization and combination of one another. The Style sheets included in CSS consist of a selector and a declarator. The simple syntax of the language uses several English language words to define the styling properties.
The term ‘PHP’ is used to define PHP Hypertext Processor language that is a free server-side scripting language that has been designed for not just web development but also as a general-purpose programming platform. This is a widely used language that was created in the year 2004 and now powers over 200 million websites worldwide. Some popular examples of websites powered by this platform include Facebook, WordPress, and Digg.com.
PHP is an interpreted script language which means that it is usually processed by an interpreter. For this reason, the language is most suitable for server-side programming that have server tasks being repeatedly performed when the website development process is on.
The following are some more points that shall help you understand the language better:
- PHP is an open source language and fast prototyping language.
- This language is compatible with UNIX based OS as well as Windows OS.
- Some industries where PHP is mostly used include startup businesses, advertising apps, and small software organizations as well as media agencies.
- The language can be embedded in HTML directly.
Developed in the year 1993, Ruby is a dynamic programming language that is used for the creation or programming of mobile apps and websites. The language successfully balances imperative programming with functional programming and is a highly scalable language. This open source platform is not only simple to understand but also easy to write. But if you are a developer who wants to learn Ruby, then you will also have to equip yourself with the knowledge of Ruby on Rails or Rails which is another framework which can help you make it interesting to deal with Ruby. For those who are interested in creating small business software and for those who are into the field of creative designing, Ruby is the perfect programming language.
During its development, the idea was to come up with a language that was more productive in terms of programming and has a concise and simple code. Ruby is mostly used in the web servers where there is a lot of web traffic. Some examples of platforms that make use of this programming language include Hulu, Twitter, and Scribd, etc.
C++ is a general purpose, well compiled and case sensitive web programming language that is not only imperative but also offers facilities for low-level memory manipulation. Since the language makes use of both low-level features as well as the feature of high-level languages, it is considered as a middle-level language. This language was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in the year 1979 and was later enhanced and renamed in 1983. Since C++ is an object oriented language, it supports the 4 principles of object oriented development including polymorphism, encapsulation, inheritance, and data hiding.
C++ is similar to C language in a lot of ways and is in fact the superset of C. This means that any program of C language is a program of C++ programming language. The language has many technical details, but the key to learning this language for you is not to get lost in these details but rather concentrate on its concepts.
Like any other language, this language too based on a philosophy and has certain elements that make it what it really is. C++ consists of three important parts, and they are given as follows:
- The standard library of C++ is capable of giving a rich combination and gamut of features such as strings and manipulating sets, etc.
- The standard template library or STL is capable of giving a rich set of methods manipulating data structures and other elements.
- The core C++ language has the capability of giving the building elements like literals, data types, and variables.
8. C Language
C is another general-purpose and imperative programming language which was developed way back in the 70s and is similar to C++ language. This language is known to be the most widely used programming platform that offers building elements for other languages like C++, Python, Java and others. These languages borrow features either directly or indirectly from it, and some of these include control structures, overall syntax, and standard libraries. This is the reason why if you want to learn programming, it is advisable that you learn C and C++ first and then move onto the others after strengthening your foundation. Some of the features that this language supports include static type system, lexical variable scope, recursion and structured programming.
The following are some of the points which shall help you understand the overall design of C language:
- C is a procedural or imperative language
- The language was designed in such a way that can be easily compiled by making use of a simple compiler.
- The language was designed to offer a low-level access to memory.
- It was designed in a way that it should need minimum possible run-time support and encourages cross-platform programming.
Image credit: Flickr | Duncan Hull under Attribution 2.0 Generic.