Low-level programming languages: varieties, history

The history of the entire IT industry begins with the emergence of low-level programming languages and https://telegram-store.com/catalog/product-category/channels/technologies. They got their name because when executing commands they actually address the microprocessor of the computer directly. But since each type of processor could only understand commands that were originally intended for it, the languages for each of the few types of devices that existed at the time were unique. They were distinguished by the use of a limited set of commands, and unlike high-level ones, they did not have a diverse syntax and a large number of abstract classes. 

Varieties of low-level programming languages

All existing programming languages can be divided into two large groups:

  1. High-level .
  2. Low-level.

And while today most of the languages in use belong to the high-level ones, this was not always the case. A few decades ago, at the dawn of the history of programming, there was just the opposite picture. 

To be fair, some low-level languages are widely used nowadays. They are used to write drivers for computer hardware and peripherals, to develop operating systems, kernels of firmware, to solve many other problems. Moreover, some programs, which are used in medicine, engineering, and the military-industrial complex to control complex devices and equipment, are developed on the basis of low-level LPs. 

The first codes of low-level languages allowed us to perform simple operations on the computer: arithmetic operations, transfer of text information between registers, comparison of several codes, etc. Later processors learned to cope with complex tasks, consisting of several elementary commands. 

Processors with different architecture execute different instruction sets at different speeds. To allow the codes to function stably and correctly on all processors belonging to the same family, it was decided to break them into firmware. A complete list of machine programming languages can hardly be compiled, since each computer model and each processor, which were produced at different times, developed its own language. 

The Assembler

The next step in the development of low-level programming languages after machine codes was the emergence of assembly languages. The key feature of these languages was that they had a wider list of instructions for different types and models of machines. The advantages of assembler, compared to simpler machine codes, include:

  • more compact codes, contributing to increased machine speed;
  • the solution algorithm can be stored in the main memory of the device. This in itself is very convenient, especially when working with tasks of the same type; 
  • the assembler programs are more functional and less demanding.

These are not all assembly language advantages. In recent years assembly language code has been mainly used for educational purposes, to improve the understanding of the hardware. 

Forth

This low-level language was created in the mid-1970s. It had a number of strong points, which ensured its rather high popularity among specialists. By this time, most machine languages had already begun to pass into oblivion, so Forth, with its functionality, was to the liking of many. With its help experienced programmers were able to implement interesting ideas, while, for example, it took only a few days to write a kernel for a device from scratch in Forth. 

С

The first variants of the C language appeared in the early 1970s. Since then, it has been constantly refined and modified, ensuring that it is almost ubiquitous right up to the present day. Its structure is similar to machine languages and assembler, which is why it is often chosen when developing system software and drivers. Some experts consider C to be a high-level language, but it’s not quite the right point of view. The point is that this language falls under the definition of a low-level language in several respects. Moreover, it directly addresses the commands supported by the processor or the computer peripherals. 

In general, let us note that the history of emergence and development of low-level programming languages is quite voluminous and diverse, but only some of them could get wide popularity and popularity.