What are the importance of programming language and the reasons behind the study principle of programming languages? Before that you can also read Definition and History. If you already finished last tutorial then Let’s start :

It is natural for computer science students to wonder how they will benefit from the study of principle of programming language. After all, many other topics in computer science are worthy of serious study. The main reason behind the study of principle of programming language is to provide the good knowledge about the fundamentals to design, implementation, and application of the programming languages.

The programming language design and implementation is often regarded as largely or even completely, a matter of opinion, with few, if any, organizing principles, and no generally accepted facts. In research laboratories and industries dozens of languages are uses every day, each with its adherents and detractors. Some would suggest that all programming languages are equivalent, the only difference being a matter of personal interest. Yet can we really say that the computer programming language Java is “better” (or “worse”) than C++? Is Scheme “better” than Lisp? Is Machine level language “better” than either of them? It is still a question that which programming language is better and why? So the study of principle of programming language supports to better understand the basic logics of programming languages and its adherents and detractors. It’s also supports to understand the programming languages paradigms. The following is what we believe to be a compelling list of potential benefits of studying principle of programming languages:

  • Increased ability to express ideas:
    • It is widely believed that the depth at which a programmer think is influenced by the expressive power of the language in which programmer communicate our thoughts. It is difficult for people to conceptualize structures they can’t describe, verbally or in writing.
    • Language in which a programmer develops software places limits on the kinds of control structures, data structures, and abstractions they can use.
    • Awareness of a wider variety of programming language features can reduce such limitations in software development.
    • Can language constructs be simulated in other languages that do not support those constructs directly?
  • Improved background for choosing appropriate languages:
    • Many programmers, when given a choice of languages for a new project, continue to use the language with which they are most familiar, even if it is poorly suited to new projects.
    • If these programmers were familiar with other languages available, they would be in a better position to make informed language choices.
  • Provides greater ability to learn new languages:
    • Programming languages are still in a state of continuous evolution, which means continuous learning is essential.
    • Programmers who understand the concept of OO programming will have easier time learning Java.
    • Once a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts of languages is acquired, it becomes easier to see how concepts are incorporated into the design of the language being learned.
  • Understand significance of implementation:
    • Understanding of implementation issues leads to an understanding of why languages are designed the way they are.
    • This in turn leads to the ability to use a language more intelligently, as it was designed to be used.
  • Ability to design new languages:
    • The more languages you gain knowledge of, the better understanding of programming languages concepts you understand.
  • Overall advancement of computing:
    • In some cases, a language became widely used, at least in part, b/c those in positions to choose languages were not sufficiently familiar with P/L concepts.
    • Many believe that ALGOL 60 was a better language than FORTRAN; however, FORTRAN was most widely used. It is attributed to the fact that the programmers and managers didn’t understand the conceptual design of ALGOL 60.
    • Do you think IBM has something to do with it?

These are the some list of important points that are explain about the role of study the principle of programming languages in computer science.


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