There are five generations of programming languages, during the evolution of programming languages, the syntax has been simplified to make programs easier to understand.
First Generation – 1GL:
Machine code and Assemblers
The first generation of programming languages consisted entirely of a sequence of 0s and 1s that the computer controls interpret as instructions, electrically.
They represent the first programming languages that the computer could understand, they are known as machine language.
Second Generation – 2GL:
Early high-level, unstructured languages – Fortran, Cobol, Basic
The second generation of programming languages consisted of assembly languages. An assembly language converts the sequences of 0s and 1s to a language understood by human beings, such as “add”, “add”, etc.
Code written in assembly language is converted to machine language (1GL).
Third Generation – 3GL:
Structured languages: Algol, Pascal, C, ADA.
Specific Languages: Lisp, Prolog, Smalltalk
The third generation of programming languages is known as high-level languages. A high-level language has grammar and syntax similar to the words in a sentence. A compiler is responsible for translating the high-level language into assembly language or machine code.
All software programming languages need to be translated into machine code for a computer to use the instructions they contain.
Fourth generation (4GL)
Declarative Languages: SQL Application Builders, CASE Tools
Visual Programming: Visual Basic, Visual C
Object Oriented Languages C++, Java, Eiffel
The fourth generation of programming languages advances in the syntax used. 4GL languages are typically used to access databases.
Fifth generation (5GL)
Imitation of the human mind
The fifth generation of programming languages is used for neural networks. A neural network is a form of artificial intelligence that tries to mimic the human mind.