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Hiding the details of a computer with a high-level language The whole purpose of high-level languages is to make programming more intuitive. So rather than tell the computer to store the number 2 in register al, add the number 3 to the number stored in register al, and then yank out the result from register al, high-level languages let you tell the computer what to do and not worry about how the computer does it. So a typical high- level language command might look like this: Total = 2 + 3 As you can see, high-level languages are much easier to read and understand, even if you know nothing about programming.

 

Where assembly language forces you to tell the processor what to do and how to do it, high-level languages just let you tell the processor what to do. Some popular high-level languages include FORTRAN (Formula Translator), BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), and Pascal (named after the French philosopher Blaise Pascal).

 

Besides making programming more intuitive, high-level languages also make programming easier because a single high-level language command can do the work of a dozen (or more) assembly language commands. A thousand lines of assembly language commands might do nothing more than multiply two numbers together. A thousand lines of high-level language commands might create a video game, a music player, or a stock market analysis program. By using high-level languages, programmers can spend more time being productive and less time worrying about the technical details of the computer.