College of American Pathologists
CAP Committees & Leadership CAP Calendar of Events Estore CAP Media Center CAP Foundation
 
About CAP    Career Center    Contact Us      
Search: Search
  [Advanced Search]  
 
CAP Home CAP Advocacy CAP Reference Resources and Publications CAP Education Programs CAP Accreditation and Laboratory Improvement CAP Members
CAP Home > CAP Reference Resources and Publications > CAP TODAY > CAP Today Archive 2001 > What is a 4GL?
Printable Version

  Sidebar

title
 

cap today

What is a 4GL?

June 2001
Eric Skjei

Tools now exist that make it possible to program computers using commands that approximate natural language, and these tools fall into the following general classification scheme:

1GL (first-generation language) refers to machine language, the actual 0s and 1s, however they are represented—magnetically, optically, and even, today, molecularly.

2GL, also known as assembly language, alludes to the earliest ways developed to write instructions to a computer without having to specify each binary digit.

3GL, also known as high-level programming, involves well-developed systems in which programming is highly structured and systematized, and moves more closely to something resembling a language, as in, for example, Fortran, Cobol, C, Basic, and so on.

4GL is a programming system that comes much closer to natural language than its predecessors and is designed to improve the productivity available with 3GLs by depending more heavily on standardized routines and components. 4GLs are typically used to access databases; many 4GLs include their own database management systems, and, conversely, many database products include their own 4GLs.

There is also a 5GL, which, according to consultant Hal Weiner, “incorporates all the features of a 4GL plus the ability to interact with knowledge-based systems, expert systems, and to support such functions as natural language processing.”

   
 

 

 

   
 
 © 2014 College of American Pathologists. All rights reserved. | Terms and Conditions | CAP ConnectFollow Us on FacebookFollow Us on LinkedInFollow Us on TwitterFollow Us on YouTubeFollow Us on FlickrSubscribe to a CAP RSS Feed