Computer Science

A Brief Description of the 10 Most Popular Programming Languages

A Brief Description of the 10 Most Popular Programming Languages
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Cho S. Kim August 4, 2014

What are the 10 most popular programming languages, and what are their benefits and downsides? Learn about them here.

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For any aspiring programmer, it is important to know which programming languages you might encounter and their relative pros and cons.

(Check This Out: Which Language Should an Aspiring Web Developer Use?)

I've written a one-paragraph description for each of today's most popular programming languages. The descriptions provide aspiring web developers with a basic understanding of each language's role in creating web-based applications. The languages are presented in random order and are numbered to make them easier to read. Don't place weight on the numbers; this is not a ranking!

Programming languages

1. C

Web-based developers will be unlikely to consider C when building a web-based application. There are three primary reasons: First, C predates the modern Internet and was never designed for web-based development. Second, C is a low-level language with verbose syntax, which doesn't lend itself to rapidly building a web-based application. Third, a popular web-based framework has never emerged for developers.

2. C++

Web developers commonly learn C++ to gain low-level control of machine resources. Although this level of control may be unnecessary for most web developers, it will prove extremely valuable for performance critical applications, such as video games.

3. Java

Web-based developers use and learn Java for many reasons, but I will highlight just two of them: mobile development and formal education. The first reason refers to Java's use for building Android-based applications. The second reason relates to Java's adoption in colleges and universities to teach computer science concepts.

4. C#

Web-based developers will be inclined to use C# when building applications for devices operated on Microsoft Windows. Whether it's a mobile or desktop application, learn C# if you're targeting these users.

5. Objective-C

Web-based developers learn Objective-C primarily to build web-based applications for Apple devices. Apple has recently released a new language called Swift, which will eventually replace Objective-C.

6. PHP

PHP is a server-side scripting language. Well-known companies, such as WordPress and Facebook, use PHP to run their web-based applications. Newer companies prefer JavaScript, Python, and Ruby for web development because of their corresponding web application frameworks. The PHP community's response has been Laravel, which is generating excitement within the PHP community.

7. SQL

Web-based developers use SQL (Search Query Language) when they want to store data from a web-based application in a relational database. Most web-based applications currently use relational databases to store their data.

8. JavaScript

JavaScript has recently become the only language capable of being used on the client-side and server-side of a web-based application. For this reason, aspiring web developers should give serious consideration to learning JavaScript. Colleges and universities offer classes in this language, but most of them lack comprehensive coverage of the language. Coding bootcamps seem to teach JavaScript in a way that's more comprehensive.

9. Python

Web-based developers enjoy using Python for the following two reasons: code readability and extensibility. Both of these reasons have contributed to the creation of several highly specialized and popular libraries. Developers interested in scientific computing or natural language processing with a high-level language will find that Python is a good fit.

10. Ruby

Web-based developers use Ruby for many reasons, but the primary one is the popularity of its web application framework, Ruby on Rails (Rails). However, many new developers cite Rail's greatest strength as its greatest weakness: It's relatively easy for them to create a web-based application, but the entire process also seems a bit magical.

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