Difference between high level & low level programming languages

A programming language or computer language is a language that is used by a programmer or developer to interact with a computer system. The programmer writes instructions and executes them to carry out some tasks. Broadly we can categorize programming languages into high-level and low-level programming languages.

So what are the differences between these two? We will discuss the same in this article.

Low-level programming language

A low-level programming language provides little or no abstraction to the computer’s instruction set architecture which means code written in a low-level language runs directly without the need of a compiler or interpreter.

Low-level programming generally refers to machine code or assembly language. The code written in a low-level language is machine-dependent and considered as close to the hardware.

We can further classify low-level language into –

  • Machine language (0, 1)
  • Assembly language

High-level programming language

A high-level language provides a strong abstraction to the computer’s instruction set architecture which means details of the computer are hidden from the programmer or outer world. These languages use a program to translate their instruction into low low-level or machine code called compiler or interpreter.

The code written in a high-level language is generally machine-independent so code written on one machine can be executed on another one. The benefit of using a high-level programming language is that easy to code, understand, and maintain a program.

For example – Python, Java, C++, C, PHP, etc.

We can further classify them into –

  • Procedural programming (e.g. – C Programming, Fortran)
  • Object-oriented programming ( e.g. – Java, Python, etc)

Note: – C and C++ are considered as middle-level programming languages as these languages use features of high-level programming languages and are also closely related to the machine

The key differences between high-level and low-level programming language

The following table shows the key differences between high-level and low-level programming languages.

High-Level Programming LanguageLow-Level Programming Language
It is human friendly It is machine friendly
Relatively slowFast
Easy to write, understand and maintainDifficult to code and maintain
It uses compiler or interpreter to translate into machine code Uses assembler or can directly runs without translation
Less memory efficient High memory efficient
Easy to debugDifficult to debug
Code is portable Code is machine dependent and not portable
Commonly used in development of modern applicationsRarely used nowadays
For example - Java, Python, JavaScript, C++, etcFor example - Assembly language

Conclusion

I hope now you know the differences between high-level and low-level programming languages. Now if you have a query then write us in the comments below.

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