Low level vs High level language – Difference between low and high level language

We already learn't about low level and high level language. We have seen their advantages and their disadvantages. Let’s compare them on various grounds.

Program speed

Programs in low level language are written either in binary or assembly language. They do not require any compilation or interpretation. It interact directly with the registers and memory. Thus, they are comparatively faster than high level languages.

High level language uses English statements to write programs. Hence, they require compilers or interpreters to translate the source to machine language. They do not interact directly with the hardware. Thus, they are slower than low level languages.

Memory efficiency

Low level languages are memory efficient. They generally consume less memory.

High level languages are not memory efficient. They generally run inside a specific runtime environment. Also there are several other programs running concurrently to increase optimal efficiency of the program which consumes memory. Thus, the overall memory consumption of high level language is comparatively more than low level language.

Easiness

Low level languages are machine friendly languages. To write a program in low level language we must know binaries or mnemonics of low level instruction sets. Remembering various instructions sets for different architectures is nearly impossible. Thus, low level programming is difficult to learn. Learning low level languages requires additional knowledge and experience about the specific machine architecture.

High level languages are programmer’s friendly language. Programs in high level language are written using English statements. Which is much easier to remember than low level binaries or mnemonics. Hence, high level programming is easy to learn.

Portability

Low level language contain low level computer instructions set. These instructions are machine dependent and are different for different architectures. Hence, programs developed are also machine dependent and are not portable.

High level languages uses English statements to write programs. They are further translated to machine language using a compiler or interpreter. There exists a separate compiler or interpreter for different machine architectures. That translates the source to specific machine language. Hence, high level languages are machine independent and are portable.

Abstraction level

Low level language provides less or no abstraction from the hardware. They are the closest language to the hardware. They interact directly with the computers register and memory.

High level language provides a high level of abstraction from the hardware. They run on top of the machine language. They do not interact directly with the computers register and memory. There is a layer of operating system and other software’s through with they interact with the hardware.

Debugging and maintenance

Low level languages are more error prone. From small syntactical error to big memory leaks. Error detection and maintenance is a tedious and time taking process.

High level languages are less error prone. Almost all syntactical errors are identified using compilers or interpreters. They are generally easy to debug and maintain.

Additional knowledge and experience

Low level languages are machine dependent. They require a prior knowledge of the particular computer architecture. Before one can actually write a program for that computer.

High level languages are machine independent. They do not require any prior knowledge of the computer architecture.

Applications

Low level languages interacts directly with the hardware. They provide very less or no abstraction from the hardware. But, they are blazing fast when compared to high level languages. Thus, they are generally used to develop operating systems and embedded systems.

High level languages provide a higher level of abstraction from the hardware. Nowadays, almost all software’s are developed using a high level language. It is used to develop variety of applications such as – desktop applications, websites, utility software’s, mobile applications etc.

Differences between low level and high level programming language.

Summing up the differences between low level and high level programming language.

Low level languageHigh level language
They are faster than high level language.They are comparatively slower.
Low level languages are memory efficient.High level languages are not memory efficient.
Low level languages are difficult to learn.High level languages are easy to learn.
Programming in low level requires additional knowledge of the computer architecture.Programming in high level do not require any additional knowledge of the computer architecture.
They are machine dependent and are not portable.They are machine independent and portable.
They provide less or no abstraction from the hardware.They provide high abstraction from the hardware.
They are more error prone.They are less error prone.
Debugging and maintenance is difficult.Debugging and maintenance is comparatively easier.
They are generally used for developing system software’s (Operating systems) and embedded applications.They are used to develop a variety of applications such as – desktop applications, websites, mobile software’s etc.

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