Difference between High-Level and Low-Level Languages

- November 16, 2017
In this article, you will know about the difference between high-level and low-level programming language. Before starting, I would like to briefly describe programming language so that you'll know better about high level and low level programming languages.

What is Programming Language

As you know, a language is the way of communication between two persons (Such as human language). Similarly, programming language is a means of communication between computer and user (programmer). Programming languages are used to prepare software for computer to solve various types of problems.
In the beginning, computer programs were created directly in machine language. (I.e in binary code) That was much difficult to develop software for computer system.
Today, a number of programming language has been launched to prepare different kinds of software. (Programs)
Each programming language has a set of alphabets and rules (that are called language syntax) for writing computer programs.
The programming languages are divided into two categories:-
  1. High-Level Programming Languages
  2. Low-Level Programming Languages

What are High Level Languages

"The programming languages that are close to human languages are called high level programming languages."
These languages are easy to use and learn. C, C++, Pascal, Java, PHP, FORTRON, COBOL and BASIC are the examples of high level programming languages.
According to the above definition of high level programming languages, these languages are close to human. It's mean we can understand them easily as well as human language (with a little effort).
All high-level languages are similar to English language but not as flexible as human language. The Instructions of software are written using English like words (such as print, input, output etc.).
But each high level language has its own rules and regulations (grammar) for writing instructions of software. These rules and regulations are called syntax of that programming language.
Keep in mind that high-level languages are close to human but not close to computer. Its mean that high-level languages are only easier for developers (who writes programs). But these languages are difficult for computer. (Because computer can't understand them without translator. )
The program written in high level language must be translated into machine code before running (execute) on the computer. Each high level language has its own translator program which is also known as the compiler or interpreter of the language.

What are Low Level Programming Languages

"The programming languages that are close to machine code (I.e binary code in 0 & 1 form) are called low level programming languages."
These languages are much difficult to learn and use. In these languages, the instructions of the programs are are written in binary form or close to binary form. Low-Level languages provide the programer with a high degree of control over hardware but they require a deep knowledge of the internal structure of the hardware to be used. Assembly language and machine language are the most popular examples of low-level programming languages.

Difference between the High Level and Low Level Languages

  • High level Languages are close to human language. But low level languages are not close to human. Low-Level languages are close to computer system. 
  • High level Language is easy to use and learn. Whereas low-level language is much difficult to learn and use. 
  • High-Level languages provided a large amount of built-in functions. But low-level language doesn't provide any built-in function.
  • High level Languages are most commonly used whereas low level programming languages are not much used. 
  • It is easy to trace out bugs (errors) in the program that is written in high-level language. Whereas it is difficult to find errors in the program (or in the source code of the software. ) in  program that is written in low level language
  • There are many programmers that can write programs in high-level languages.  Whereas there is few programmers who can write program in low-level languages
  • No need of deep knowledge of computer hardware to learn and use high-level languages. But deep knowledge of hardware is required to learn and use low-level languages
  • Programs written in high level language is slower in execution (running).Whereas program written in low level language is faster in execution.

Types of High Level Languages

The high-level programming languages are further divided into three categories:-
  1. Object-Oriented Programming Languages (OOP).
  2. Procedural Languages.
  3. Non-Procedural Languages.

Types of Low Level Languages

There are two types of low level programming languages.
  1. Machine Language
  2. Assembly Language

What are the Advantages of High-Level Programming Languages

There are several advantages of high-level languages. The most important advantages are as follows:-
  • High-Level Programming Languages provide a lot of built-in functions.
  • Easy to understand.
  • Easy to learn.
  • Easy to write program.
  • Machine independence.
  • Easy to detect and remove errors.