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Programming Overview

An overview of computer programming written for students new to computer programming.

Each programming language was created to solve some type of particular problem. There are hundreds of programming languages. The instructions in a computer program tell the computer what steps to take to solve a problem.

Procedural Languages

The procedural languages specify an exact sequence or order of operations. Program logic determines the next step to execute in a procedural language and this logic determination is made in response to conditions and user action. The traditional procedural languages include but are not limited to: BASIC, C, COBOL, FORTRAN, Pascal.
Pascal was developed by Niklaus Wirth in 1971. It was designed only as a teaching language, lacked many of the features of other languages and also lacked marketing.

Object-Oriented Programming

Newer programming languages are C# (pronounced "C Sharp), C++ and Java which are true object-oriented, event-driven programming languages. Visual Basic 6.0 is an event-driven programming language which has some of the elements of an object-oriented programming language, but not all of the features of an object-oriented programming language. Visual Basic.NET is Microsoft's sequel to VB6, based in part, upon the older Visual Basic, but not really the same language, since the VB.NET has new constructs and features and often differing syntax than Visual Basic 6.0.
In the event-driven programming model the coded lines of the program are not written and executed in a sequential logic because the user action of clicking a key or checkbox or button triggers an event. When the event (such as a click) occurs it causes the program to jump to the event procedure you have written to handle that event. An example is a user clicking on a button that reads "CALCULATE". The program jumps to the procedure you have programmed to calculate results. The full program is not executed in a linear fashion or a logic sequence but rather in user-action event-triggered procedures. If a particular button is NOT clicked that corresponding procedure is not executed in the event-driven program.
Note: In the coding environment (work window) you can even have the exit procedure be first on the page of code -- it doesn't matter what order the event procedures are listed in, but in common practice and for ease of maintainance, exit procedures are generally located near the bottom of the project. If you are taking a programming class for the first time, your instructor will likely want the class to follow uniform programming steps when setting up a page of code inside the coding window.
In June 2001, Microsoft announced its new C# (c-sharp) programming language, which has similarities to Java. C# is used in Microsoft's new .NET framework.
See Related Links

Some of the Web Technologies...

The scripting languages such as JavaScript and Visual Basic Script are used in Web programming. JavaScript (and JScript) are frequently used for client-side Web page scripting. Visual Basic Script, or VBScript as it is often called is useful for server-side scripting using Active Server Pages (ASP) technology, which is only used on Microsoft servers. Perl/CGI scripting is also a Web technology which is used for server side scripting with UNIX-based servers. PHP technology is also used for server-side coding on UNIX-based servers such as the Apache server.
HTML is a mark-up language used to create Web pages for a cross-platform (many operating systems) environment on the Web or an intranet. HTML is not a programming language. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets rules) is the technology used along with HTML to create formatting for Web pages.
Dynamic HTML ( DHTML) is a group of technologies used to create interactivity on a Web page such as a change which occurs from a user action.
XML (Extensible Markup Language) is not considered a programming language. It is a meta-language created by W3C for describing data and creating additional markup languages. XML tags form individual pieces of data. An XML document is text-based and is made up of XML tags. XML is portable and has been rapidly adopted throughout the industry, thus making it the preferred choice for enabling cross-platform data communication in Web Services. XML provided the basis for many core Web services standards such as SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI.
Cheryl Gribble for Hitmill.com


Related Links

Primer on Object Oriented Programming
Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming
Object Orient Programming Primer CramSession.com
Cetus-Links.org This is a compiled directory of links related to object oriented programming languages and there are links labeled "Start Here" for students.

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Updated 03 January 2007

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