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Comparing Programming LanguagesThere are several ways to compare computer Languages but for simplicity we'll compare then by Compilation Method and Abstraction Level.
Compiling to Machine CodeSome languages require programs to be transformed directly into Machine Code- the instructions that a CPU understands directly. This transformation process is called compilation. Assembly Language, C, C++ and Pascal are compiled languages.
Because compiled programs almost always run faster than interpreted, languages such as C and C++ tend to be the most popular for writing games. Java and C# both compile to an interpreted language which is very efficient. Because the Virual Machine that interprets Java and the .NET framework that runs C# are heavily optimized, it's claimed that applications in those languages are as fast if not faster as compiled C++.
Level of AbstractionThe other way to compare languages is level of abstraction. This indicates how close a particular language is to the hardware. Machine Code is the lowest level with Assembly Language just above it. C++ is higher than C because C++ offers greater abstraction. Java and C# are higher than C++ because they compile to an intermediate language called bytecode.
How Languages Compare
Fast Compiled Languages
- Assembly Language
Reasonably Fast Interpreted
Details of these languages are on the next two pages.