C Languages

The language a program is written in is generally some human-readable form that can be converted by the "compiler" into codes that the target computer can translate into the application's functionality. The "source code" must contain instructions on how to handle every allowable control input and how to present every required output down to the finest line around a display window.

Languages have developed over many years from relatively simple forms, such as Fortran, PL/1, and Basic, through the more modern object-oriented versions, such as C++ and Object Pascal, to today's Rapid Application Development (RAD) suites, including Delphi, PowerBuilder, and Visual C++. In general, the lower the level of (and older) the language, the closer it is to the central processing unit (CPU) functionality. An example of this would be to draw a line on the screen with a low-level language. First, one would have to instruct the CPU to set a pixel on the screen to a particular color, then test if enough have been set and, if not, set the next pixel and repeat the test until the required line has been drawn. A similar function with a higher level language would be a single instruction: draw a red line 20 pixels long. The RAD languages have taken this concept a step farther in establishing a set of predefined controls that can be simply dropped onto a background and connected with relatively simple code to produce the required functionality. An example of this is to display a picture in a window, drop a picture control onto the window, size it correctly with the mouse, assign a bitmap file to the control, then run the application. The picture will be displayed! These RAD languages also support the concept of modern object-oriented design.

The commercial banking, finance, and accounting sector has provided much of the initiative to develop these RAD languages. A valuable side effect has been that the datawindow, editbox, listbox, button control, radio button, check box, and picture control are ideally suited to developing applications such as a colony management system. It is such a language, PowerBuilder, that has made developing a complicated colony management program possible. Even so, the development time needed to release such a program is in the order of 5000 software hours.

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