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Essay: Programming languages and their uses

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  • Published: 24 October 2015*
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  • Words: 1,388 (approx)
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In general, there are 256 of programming languages exist in the programming world. Programming languages are classified in many ways. The most commonly used programming languages are Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Java and Php.
The first most commonly used programming language is Hypertext Markup Language, or commonly known as HTML. HTML is the standard mark-up language used to create web pages. According to Shanon (2007), HTML is a language created for computer to read human command to develop websites. Human can view the websites by connecting to the Internet. HTML started as an easy way to transfer data between computers over the Internet. The earlier objective of designing HTML is for scientists and researches that do not have any experience in publishing articles or journals of their researches. In 1980’s, HTML was proposed and prototyped as ‘ENQUIRE’ by Tim Berners-Lee, a contractor at CERN Inc., for researches to share their research documents over the Internet (Wikipedia, 2015). HTML codes are written in the form of HTML elements consisting of tags enclosed in angle brackets. Some elements that are important in writing codes for HTML is the paragraph tags, the header tags, the image tags, the hypertext reference tags and the bold and italics tags. Each HTML tag describes different document content such as the body of the document, paragraph in the document, the title, links, header and footer, and others. In designing a website, user interface is the most important thing to be considered. This is because user interface is the first thing human sees when they open the website. In complementary of designing the website, HTML is coded along with Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). CSS controls the layout of the interfaces in the website while HTML provides the information displayed in it. In programming world, the line codes are called syntax. The example of HTML syntax is as shown in Table 1. Even though HTML is coded for websites that can be viewed by connecting to the Internet, ‘coding it can be done offline by saving it in the computer and later transfer the files onto the web’ (Shanon, 2007). There are many types of HTML deliverables such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol to send the HTML documents from the web servers to web browsers, HTML e-Mail and HTML Application. Over the time, HTML had gained acceptance through the world of Internet quickly. HTML version 4.0 or HTML4 and HTML version 5 or HTML5 was developed to enhance the websites. Some ‘What You See Is What You Get’ (WYSIWYG) editors (Rohde, n.d.), were developed so that user can get whatever appears in the HTML document using a graphical user interface or GUI. Programmers usually combine HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript to create a dynamic websites which are more interesting for users.
The second type of most commonly used programming languages is Java language. Java language is currently one of the most popular programming languages being used. Java language is an object-oriented programming language was developed by James Gosling in 1995 at Sun Microsystems that can be run on many different operating systems (Wikipedia, 2015). It is also known as high-level language because it is easier for humans to read and write the command structures. It also helps programmers to write the computer instruction using English commands, rather than write in numeric code. There are a lot of applications and websites that working on Java application, such as to connect a laptop or desktop to data center and from mobile phone to the internet and so on. These applications are called applets. The applets can runs in websites (Arnold, 2005). Java programming is designed to create the functions as C++ programming language but with much simpler understanding and easy to learn and use. There are few things needed to codes Java programming. The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is the package that consists of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), Java platform core classes, and supporting Java platform libraries. To run Java in the web browser, the JRE will be needed. Java Virtual Machine or JVM helps Java applications to run by compiling the ‘bytecodes’ into a workable codes as an another option to understand one instruction at a time; However, to run Java applets in browser, the JRE need to be installed along with the Java Plug-in software. According to Rouse (2015), ‘Java applets will run on almost any operating system without requiring recompilation and Java is generally regarded as the most strategic language in which to develop applications for the Web because it has no specific operating system extensions’. There are few major characteristics of Java. One of them is ‘the programs created are portable in a network’ (Rouse, 2015). It means that any programs created using Java programming can be run in the network on a server as long as the server has a Java virtual machine. Another characteristic is ‘the code is robust, which means unlike other languages, the Java objects can contain no references to data external to themselves or other known objects’ (Rouse, 2015). The objects inside the code have the same traits or inherit the traits of other objects by being a part of the object class (Rouse, 2015). Apart from that, java programming has the Java applet that was designed to make the programming run fast when executed at the client or server (Rouse, 2015). Besides that, Java is open source software, which means that this software is free to download. Like any programming language, Java language also has its own structure and syntax rules. Once a program has been written, the high-level instruction will be translated into a numeric code which is the computer can understand the instruction and execute the commands. Table 1 shows the example of differences structure to write the Java syntax compared to other programming languages syntax. However, there is a thing called JavaScript that people always confused with Java. Even though the name consists of the ‘Java’ word, but JavaScript is not Java programming. JavaScript is easier to learn than Java and it requires higher level of understanding but it does not have the Java mobility and ‘bytecode’ speed.
The third most commonly used programming language that used in developing a program is Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP). PHP is suitable used in web development and also can be embedded into HTML. Besides, PHP scripts are usually used in three main areas which are server-side scripting, command line scripting and writing desktop applications. Usually, PHP used to read data and information from databases, and to add or update the databases content. A single PHP template can be written to retrieve and display the databases records. PHP is a language developed by Rasmas Lerdorf which originally an abbreviation of ‘Personal Home Page (tools)’ (Motive Glossary, 2004). PHP is a recursive programming where the command can be used over and over again to gain data. Before this, this language has been said that has been widely used in server-side scripting (Motive Glossary, 2004), which is can do anything that are related to any other computer graphic image (CGI) program likes collect data, generate dynamic page content or send and receive cookies. This language can be used in any operating systems, including Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and RISC OS. Each of the programming language has its function and same goes with PHP language which are can output images, form a server-side cache for content and easily output any text such as XHTML and XML file. Example code of PHP language that used in developing program can be seen in Table 1. PHP code can be inserted into the HTML webpage because it is an HTML-embedded web scripting language. When PHP page is opened, the PHP code is read from the located page by the server. The results from the PHP functions on the page usually read as HTML codes that can be read by the browser. This is because PHP codes do not have its own interface and were transformed into HTML codes first before the page is loaded and users cannot view the PHP codes on a page without a user interface from the HTML. The reason is to make the PHP page secure to access databases and other secure information.
In conclusion, Hypertext Markup Language, Java and Hypertext Preprocessor are considered as the most commonly used programming language in programming world because it is used in creating websites that are essential to our daily lives nowadays.

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