LIS 505 - Programming

programming languages

Vocabularies and sets of grammatical rules for instructing computers to perform specific tasks.


Sets of unambiguous rules for solving problems.

program flowcharts

Formal graphic representations of the flow of control in computer programs. By contrast, system flowcharts use similar symbols to show the flow of data between processes, similar to data flow diagrams.


An outline written in a form that a programmer can easily convert to instructions in a programming language.


The form in which a computer expects its instructions to be given in a particular programming language.

integrated development environment

A programming environment that has been packaged as an application program, typically consisting of a code editor, a compiler, a debugger, and a graphical user interface builder.

source code

Instructions written in a programming language and stored in the form of a text file.

object code

Instructions in machine language (and usually some other information) resulting when source code is compiled.


Software that combines pieces of object code to form a single executable program.

executable files

Files in a form that a computer can execute directly because they are in its own machine language. Also called load modules.


Finding and removing errors in programs.

procedural languages

Languages where the programmer specifies explicit sequences of steps. Also called imperative languages. FOLDOC

machine languages

A low level of programming language, understandable directly by a computer but very difficult for humans to use.

assembly languages

The next level above machine languages, readable as text and allowing mnemonic names, but peculiar to particular platforms and very closely paralleling the corresponding machine languages.

high-level languages

Languages that are more independent of platform than assembly languages and which make it easier to read, write, and modify programs.


Short for Common Business Oriented Language. The second-oldest high-level language (after FORTRAN). Still widely used (on larger computers), though commonly considered outdated.


Short for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. A relatively simple language developed in the 1960s as a teaching tool and widely used in various versions since. The only high-level language available on the earliest personal computers.

Visual Basic

A programming language and GUI programming environment developed by Microsoft; based on BASIC.


A relatively low-level high-level language developed in the 1970s, used for a wide variety of applications.


A version of C with added features.


declarative languages

Languages in which relations between items of information and inference rules are expressed, but the precise steps to follow are not. Also called relational languages, functional languages, FOLDOC nonprocedural languages or very-high level languages.

query languages

natural languages

Human languages, not designed for communication with machines.

object-oriented programming

OOP for short. A type of programming in which programmers define not only the types of data structures, but also operations that can be applied to them.


In programming, combining elements to create a new entity.


Procedures associated specifically with particular classes of objects.


In OOP, the way that one object requests an action from another object.


In OOP, the ability to redefine (override) methods for derived object classes.


In OOP, categories of objects with common properties. The members of a class may be referred to as instances of the class.


In OOP, that fact that each subclass normally inherits all properties (including methods) of its more general class (unless these are explicitly overridden or hidden).

Last updated October 29, 2002.
This page maintained by Prof. Tim Craven
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Faculty of Information and Media Studies
University of Western Ontario,
London, Ontario
Canada, N6A 5B7