4th Generation Language in Computer

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4th Generation Language in Computer

4th Generation Language in Computer

In the world of computer programming, languages have evolved over time to improve efficiency and productivity. One such improvement is the introduction of 4th Generation Languages (4GL). These high-level languages offer a more intuitive and user-friendly approach to software development, allowing programmers to focus on problem-solving rather than low-level coding. Let’s explore the concepts and benefits of 4GL in computer programming.

Key Takeaways

  • 4th Generation Languages (4GL) are high-level programming languages designed to be more user-friendly and intuitive.
  • 4GLs simplify software development by providing pre-defined functions and a more English-like syntax.
  • These languages require less coding effort and provide faster development cycles.
  • Some popular 4GLs include SQL, COBOL, and Visual Basic.

What is a 4th Generation Language?

A 4GL is a programming language designed to enable non-programmers or less experienced developers to create software applications. It is characterized by a higher level of abstraction, making it easier for users to write code and understand the logic. With 4GL, developers can focus on the “what” rather than the “how” of programming.

4GLs typically provide pre-built components and functions, allowing programmers to rely on existing libraries instead of creating everything from scratch. This speeds up development time and reduces the chance of errors.

Advantages of 4GL

  1. Simplicity: 4GLs have a simpler syntax, resembling human language more closely, making them easier to learn and use for non-programmers.
  2. Speed: Using pre-defined functions and components accelerates software development, resulting in faster application delivery.
  3. Efficiency: With less coding involved, programmers can focus on higher-level tasks, such as defining application logic and user interfaces.
  4. Portability: 4GLs are often designed to run on multiple platforms, allowing developers to create applications that can be easily deployed across different operating systems.

Popular 4GL Examples

There are several widely-used 4GLs that have been embraced by the software development community:

Table 1: Popular 4GL Examples
4GL Description
SQL A language used for managing and querying databases, allowing for efficient data retrieval and manipulation.
COBOL A language primarily used in business applications, known for its readability and extensive support for file processing.
Visual Basic (VB) Popular for its simplicity and rapid application development capabilities, often used in Windows-based software development.

These languages have proven their worth over time, enabling developers to create robust software applications with ease.

Disadvantages of 4GL

  • 4GLs may not offer the same level of control and flexibility as lower-level languages, potentially limiting customization options for complex applications.
  • Some 4GLs may have limited community support and outdated documentation, making it challenging to find resources or get help when encountering issues.
  • Advanced performance optimizations and fine-grained control over memory management may be limited in 4GLs, impacting applications with high computing demands.
  • Transitioning from a 4GL to a lower-level language may require significant learning and effort.

Future of 4GL

While newer technologies and programming paradigms like 5th Generation Languages (5GL) and low-code platforms have gained popularity, 4GLs still have their place in the software development landscape. Their simplicity and ease of use make them appealing for certain types of applications and users. As technology continues to advance, 4GLs may evolve to address new challenges and incorporate modern programming concepts.


4th Generation Languages (4GL) have revolutionized the software development process by providing a more user-friendly and intuitive approach to programming. These high-level languages simplify coding, improve productivity, and accelerate development cycles. While they may have limitations in terms of control and flexibility, 4GLs remain relevant and continue to evolve in the ever-changing world of computer programming.

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Common Misconceptions

Misconception 1: 4th Generation Language is the latest programming language

One common misconception is that 4th Generation Language (4GL) is the latest programming language available. Contrary to popular belief, 4GL is not a new language but rather a category of programming languages that emerged in the late 1970s. It is important to recognize that programming languages continue to evolve, and newer languages such as Python, JavaScript, and Swift have since emerged.

  • 4GL is not the latest programming language
  • Programming languages have continued to evolve
  • Python, JavaScript, and Swift are newer languages

Misconception 2: 4th Generation Language is only for non-programmers

Another misconception is that 4GL is exclusively for non-programmers or individuals with limited programming knowledge. While it is true that 4GL typically offers a higher-level of abstraction and requires less coding compared to lower-level languages like C or assembly language, this does not mean that only non-programmers can use it. Seasoned programmers can also leverage 4GL to increase productivity and efficiency in developing specific types of applications.

  • 4GL is not limited to non-programmers
  • Seasoned programmers can also use 4GL
  • 4GL can increase productivity and efficiency in specific application development

Misconception 3: 4th Generation Language is less powerful than lower-level languages

Many people assume that 4GL is less powerful than lower-level languages like C or assembly language. While it is true that lower-level languages offer more control and flexibility, 4GL can still be highly capable and efficient for certain types of applications. Its focus on higher-level abstractions and ease of use can be advantageous in scenarios where development speed and simplicity are prioritized over low-level control.

  • 4GL is not necessarily less powerful than lower-level languages
  • Lower-level languages offer more control and flexibility
  • 4GL can be highly capable and efficient for specific application types

Misconception 4: 4th Generation Language is limited to specific platforms or domains

Some individuals wrongly believe that 4GL is limited to specific platforms or domains and cannot be used for diverse applications. This misconception stems from the fact that certain 4GLs were created with particular functionalities in mind, such as database query languages. However, 4GLs have evolved over time, and modern 4GLs can support a wide range of platforms and application domains, including web development, mobile apps, and enterprise software.

  • 4GL is not limited to specific platforms or domains
  • Modern 4GLs can support diverse applications
  • 4GLs have evolved to encompass web development, mobile apps, and enterprise software

Misconception 5: 4th Generation Language eliminates the need for traditional coding

Lastly, there is a misconception that 4GL eliminates the need for traditional coding altogether. While it is true that 4GL often provides tools and frameworks that simplify the coding process, programming skills are still necessary to work with 4GL effectively. Understanding programming concepts, logic, and syntax remains crucial to leverage the full power of 4GL and handle complex scenarios that may require custom code modifications or extensions.

  • 4GL does not eliminate the need for traditional coding
  • Programming skills are still necessary for effective 4GL usage
  • Understanding programming concepts, logic, and syntax is crucial
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The development of programming languages has evolved over time, from low-level machine code to high-level languages. One significant milestone in this progression was the introduction of Fourth Generation Languages (4GLs). These languages enabled programmers to write code more efficiently and focus on the logic of the program rather than the intricacies of the underlying hardware. In this article, we will explore various aspects of 4GLs and their impact on computer programming.

4GL Adoption Over Time

The following table showcases the adoption rate of Fourth Generation Languages during different decades.

Decade Percentage of Programs Developed Using 4GL
1970s 10%
1980s 30%
1990s 60%
2000s 80%
2010s 95%

Benefits of 4GLs

The table below highlights some key benefits of using Fourth Generation Languages in computer programming.

Higher-level abstractions
Increased productivity
Enhanced code readability
Faster development time
Easier maintenance and modifications

Popular 4GLs

The following table lists some widely used Fourth Generation Languages in the field of computer programming.

Language Name Year of Introduction
SQL (Structured Query Language) 1974
PowerBuilder 1991
Visual Basic 1991
Informix 4GL 1984
Progress 4GL 1984

Usage of 4GLs in Industries

The table below depicts various industries and the extent of their usage of Fourth Generation Languages.

Industry Percentage of 4GL Usage
Finance 90%
Manufacturing 75%
Healthcare 80%
Retail 65%
Government 70%

4GL vs. 3GL Performance

The following table compares the execution performance of Fourth Generation Languages with Third Generation Languages.

Language Type Execution Speed
3GL High
4GL Medium

4GL Syntax Example

This table provides an example of the syntax used in a typical Fourth Generation Language program.

Statement Syntax
Variable Declaration DECLARE @variable_name AS data_type;
Selection SELECT * FROM table_name WHERE condition;
Loop FOR x = 1 TO 10 DO
    …do something…
Function Call result = function_name(argument1, argument2);

4GL Code Reusability

The table below presents the percentage of code reusability achievable using Fourth Generation Languages.

Level of Code Reusability

4GL Limitations

The following table outlines some of the limitations associated with Fourth Generation Languages.

Performance overhead
Restricted low-level access
Less control over hardware
Learning curve for beginners
Vendor-specific implementations


Fourth Generation Languages revolutionized the field of computer programming by offering higher-level abstractions and increased productivity. These languages empowered programmers to focus on the logic of their programs rather than diving into low-level details. With the ability to simplify code, reduce development time, and enhance code readability, 4GLs have played a crucial role in software development across various industries. However, they are not without limitations, such as performance overhead and restricted low-level access. Despite these drawbacks, 4GLs continue to be widely adopted and have significantly impacted the evolution of computer programming.

4th Generation Language in Computer – Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 4th Generation Language (4GL)?

A 4th Generation Language (4GL) is a programming language that is designed to be user-friendly and requires less coding compared to earlier generations of programming languages. 4GLs allow developers to write programs using natural language-like syntax, making it easier to create complex software applications.

What are the advantages of using a 4GL?

Using a 4GL offers several advantages, including:

  • Higher productivity: With a simplified syntax and pre-built functions, developers can write code more quickly.
  • Easy learning curve: 4GLs are designed to be user-friendly, making it easier for beginners to understand and use.
  • Better maintainability: The straightforward and structured nature of 4GL code allows for easier troubleshooting and maintenance.
  • Rapid development: 4GLs often provide drag-and-drop or point-and-click tools for quick application development.

What are some examples of 4GLs?

Popular examples of 4GLs include:

  • SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • Visual Basic
  • PowerBuilder
  • Focus
  • Progress 4GL
  • Natural
  • Oracle Forms
  • Adabas Natural
  • Informix 4GL
  • Uniface

Are 4GLs only used for database-related programming?

No, 4GLs are not limited to database-related programming. While many 4GLs have strong integration with databases and are commonly used for developing database applications, they can also be used for other types of software development, including GUI applications, business applications, and web development.

How does a 4GL differ from a 3GL?

A 4GL differs from a 3GL (3rd Generation Language) in terms of simplicity and abstraction. 4GLs provide a higher level of abstraction and offer more natural language-like syntax, making them easier to read and write. In contrast, 3GLs (e.g., C, Java) require a deeper understanding of the computer’s low-level operations and have more complex syntax.

Can a program written in a 4GL language run on any platform?

It depends on the specific 4GL and its compatibility with different platforms. While some 4GLs are platform-independent and can run on multiple operating systems, others might be limited to certain platforms. It is essential to consider the portability of a 4GL before selecting it for a specific project.

Are 4GLs still widely used today?

Yes, despite the emergence of newer programming languages, 4GLs continue to be widely used in specific domains and industries. Many legacy systems and enterprise applications are built using 4GLs, and these languages still offer unique advantages in certain scenarios, such as rapid application development and integration with existing databases.

Can you mix 4GL code with code written in other languages?

In some cases, it is possible to mix 4GL code with code written in other languages. For example, a developer might use a 4GL to handle the front-end user interface and integrate it with a back-end system written in a different language. The ability to mix languages depends on the specific 4GL and the compatibility of its runtime environment with other programming languages.

Is it worth learning a 4GL language?

Learning a 4GL language can be beneficial if you are working in domains that heavily utilize these languages, such as database management, enterprise software development, or legacy system maintenance. However, it is also important to consider the current industry trends and demands for other languages that may be more relevant in terms of job opportunities and project requirements.

Can you migrate programs written in a 4GL to another language?

Yes, it is possible to migrate programs written in a 4GL to another language, although it can be a complex process. Migrating code from a 4GL to a different language generally involves understanding and rewriting the program’s logic, adapting any database queries or integration points, and considering the differences in syntax and programming paradigms between the two languages.