A programming language is an artificial language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that control the behavior of a machine and/or to express algorithms precisely.
The earliest programming languages predate the invention of the computer, and were used to direct the behavior of machines such as Jacquard looms and player pianos. Thousands of different programming languages have been created, mainly in the computer field, with many being created every year. Most programming languages describe computation in an imperative style, i.e., as a sequence of commands, although some languages, such as those that support functional programming or logic programming, use alternative forms of description.
The description of a programming language is usually split into the two components of syntax (form) and semantics (meaning). Some languages are defined by a specification document (for example, the C programming language is specified by an ISO Standard), while other languages, such as Perl 5 and earlier, have a dominant implementation that is used as a reference.
Famous quotes containing the words programming and/or language:
“If there is a price to pay for the privilege of spending the early years of child rearing in the drivers seat, it is our reluctance, our inability, to tolerate being demoted to the backseat. Spurred by our success in programming our children during the preschool years, we may find it difficult to forgo in later states the level of control that once afforded us so much satisfaction.”
—Melinda M. Marshall (20th century)
“There is no such thing as an ugly language. Today I hear every language as if it were the only one, and when I hear of one that is dying, it overwhelms me as though it were the death of the earth.”
—Elias Canetti (b. 1905)