Computers are dumb. They only do what they’re told. How do you tell a computer what to do? You use a programming language. The very first thing you’ll do when learning a new programming language is how to make the computer display “Hello, World”.
There is no perfect programming language, they all offer something a little different, and there are hundreds of programming languages with new ones being created every day.
Here is a selection of programming languages that have a place in the programming hall of fame. They’re all either used today or have contributed something to the art of computer languages.
If you’re on a Mac you can use this to automate and customise your applications.
This is the language that will get you the highest performing and most efficient software that is still human-readable. It’s so hard to write in that it only makes sense to use it for small parts of a programme that are performance-sensitive. You will find it in operating systems and 3D game engines.
BASH (UNIX SHELL)
Used to interact with and manage Linux and Unix system at the command line.
The most important language in the world. It’s what operating systems like Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android are written in, as well as browsers and 3D games engines. Its syntax has influenced countless other programming languages.
C maps closely to Assembly Language but you can write more complex programmes with it. If you need the highest performance possible without losing your mind then C is for you.
C is also the language that made “Hello, World” examples popular.
Has performance close to C and is used in many important projects like the Chrome Browser. C++ was an effort to make a language that was easier to build large projects with while still being fast and efficient.
Created when Microsoft built their .Net virtual machine. C# has become Microsoft premier programming language.
A functional programming focused language in the ML family of languages. It’s used for a number of smaller projects at Facebook. The compiler for Facebook’s Hack language was written in OCaml.
A language for building client-side software that can run on phones and browsers. Google is using Dart in some of its most important projects.
Designed to work in a distributed way to provide real-time processing and high availability. Popular for phone systems but not well-know until it was used for CouchDB, the project that was the catalyst for the NoSQL movement.
While Erlang is great at a technical level, programmers find it hard to work with. Elixir uses Erlang’s technology while providing an easier experience for programmers.
Something that made Java special is that it was designed so you could write code once and then allow it to run on any operating system. Java is the most popular programming language in the world. It’s used to teach students and in large companies. All Android apps are written in Java.
An extension of C that adds Smalltalk like messaging. Used by Apple in writing macOS and iOS.
Perl is very powerful for text processing. A popular option for creating websites in the early days of dynamic websites.
PHP is the most popular language for building the backend of websites. It’s what Facebook and WordPress are written in. Facebook decided to create their own dialect of PHP called Hack.
Has a compact syntax needing far fewer lines of code than languages like Java or C++. It’s very popular and is used for websites and artificial intelligence (AI) tasks.
Used to interact with and manage Windows systems at the command line level.
Designed to be a productive and fun language to use, stressing human needs over computer needs. The Rails web framework was written for Ruby, and had a huge impact on web framework design. Ruby is still a popular language for creating websites.
A new language that is intended to replace languages like C for doing systems-level work. Parts of Firefox are being replaced with Rust.
A visual programming language designed to let kids learn skills by programming. There is also Scratch Jr. which is intended for use by 5-7 year olds. Both languages are used by millions in and out of schools all over the world.
A newer language created at Apple that is being promoted to replace Objective-C for use on its platforms. It’s designed to be an easier language to learn and use without losing the performance of Objective-C.
A combination of a programme and a language. Used to analyse data and develop algorithms. It’s used in education to teach linear algebra and numerical analysis. It’s also popular with scientists doing work with image manipulation.
Machine code is the lowest level of instruction you can send to a CPU. Machine code is not really readable by humans and humans can only do trivial things in it but all software is eventually turned into Machine code before it’s sent to the CPU.