Computer Programming: Selecting A Language

Computer Programming: Selecting A Language

With seemingly hundreds of computer languages out there, it becomes more and more challenging to decide which one to use. There really is no “best” language for all situations. In order to choose the right language for your application, you will need to be very objective in your analysis of the things that your program will need to accomplish. Each language has its own strong points. Knowing these strengths will help you to choose the perfect language where you can get the best performance and functionality out of your software.

Computer Programming: Selecting A Language

In this article, I will take a look at the main points that you will want to take a look at. This will help you to narrow the field to a couple different options. After looking at your program in this light, the right language may just jump right out at you. Even if it does not, it will at least narrow the field to only a select few. Then you can look at these and decide. If there are several languages that will fill your needs, you will then want to look at options like personal preference, ease of use, or the amount of knowledge that you have of that language. As an example, if you have it narrowed down to either JAVA or Visual Basic as the best language but you do not know much about JAVA, you may want to go with VB. You may also want to select VB over JAVA even if JAVA may yield a slightly better program. If you do not know the language very well, you can easily program errors or even wild viruses without even realizing it. But keep in mind that writing a computer program is nothing like writing an essay or thesis.

Operating System

The operating system is one of the biggest concerns in deciding which language to use. Each operating system has a different language that is designed specifically for that system. On several occasions, these languages can be interchanged and will work in a cross-platform environment, but the program will be much better in its natural setting. There are some rare instances, mostly on mobile devices, where a program will not work in a cross-platform sense. There are still some options for this problem as well. For anyone that is reading this in regards to what languages to learn, you will want a strong base in the C language. This includes C++, C#, and now, Objective C. This language is one of the most common multi-platform languages out there. Many of us have heard of the first two C languages, but Objective C is a relatively new concept for many. Basically, this is the C language on a Mac. Apple created the Objective C language to aid Microsoft developers in creating cross-platform programs. This also allows for many of the Apple developers to do the same.

Computer Programming: Selecting A Language

Aside from mobile devices, this language will allow for programs to work on any computer. If you are writing a program that you want everyone in the world to be able to gain access to, C would be your language. If you are writing programs exclusively for Linux machines, you may want to go with Perl or Corba. Each OS has an optimum language. Knowing your target platform will be the only way to know which languages you should consider before moving to the next category.

Web Applications or Stand Alone Software

This is another starting point, just like the operating system. There are some languages that fit into websites a lot better than some that are more suited to be installed on a computer for normal use.

When it comes to web platforms, you may want to consider using JAVA or Flash for minor programs. There are software development kits (SDK’s) that can also embed many of the languages into a web app. This is one option that is available to you if you need a program that is more robust or intricate than JAVA or flash allow. This may also allow you to implement existing programs that you have created into your websites. By offering these programs via an Internet server, you will have to keep in mind the operating system that the server is using. If the language is not compatible with the server OS, then you may need to find an alternative.

The Complexity of the Program

The last factor that will really guide your hand in language selection is the complexity and end goal of your program. You will want to do a quick map of your program and try to figure out what it needs to accomplish. If it is a simple calculation or accessing information from a single file, then something small like VB, Flash or JAVA may work for you. If it consists of in-depth and complex algorithms or access to multiple to infinite numbers of databases, you may want to consider using C# or a more in-depth language for your platform. The more intense the program, the more complex of a language you will need.

Computer Programming: Selecting A Language

No matter what type of program you are creating, there are several different options available to you. You will want to know the basic capabilities of the different languages. Knowing the limits of the languages can help you to quickly choose the language that is right for your program. By starting in the wrong language, you can be coding for days just to realize that you have to start all over in a different language. Not only will this waste your time and effort, but it can be very frustrating. It may even cause you to keep trying the wrong language as you attempt to force it beyond its capabilities.

This can also turn into something a lot worse than an inconvenience. If you use the wrong language and try to push it beyond its functionality, you can inadvertently cause wild viruses, crashes, or freezes. You can cause a lot of damage both to your computer and to the system of anyone that uses your program. Selecting the right language is one of the most important choices that any coder can make. The right one will make life simple and create an amazing piece of software while choosing the wrong one can be very detrimental.