What is a Low-Level Language?
A low-level language, often known as a computer's native language, is a sort of programming language. It is very close to writing actual machine instructions, and it deals with a computer's hardware components and constraints. It works to control a computer's operational semantics and provides little or no abstraction of programming ideas. In contrast to high-level language that used for developing software, low-level code is not human-readable, and it is often cryptic. Assembly language and machine language are two examples of low-level programming languages.
The major goal of the low-level language is to utilize high-level languages like PHP, C#, and Swift to build software programmes and scripts that operate, manage, and modify the computer's hardware and instructions set architecture. The source code can be created and edited by a software developer in a high-level language with the help of using a basic text editor or a programming IDE. However, the CPU cannot recognize the code directly. Before that, the code is compiled into a low-level language.
Low-level languages are advantageous because programmes and applications written in them may be executed directly on computer hardware without the requirement for translation or interpretation. Also, these applications and programs can run with a very minimal memory footprint as well as very fast. However, they need a deeper knowledge of machine language; therefore, they may be hard to use.
An assembly language comprises commands like ADD (add), SUB (subtract), and MOV (move). These commands are responsible for executing basic operations, such as performing calculations and moving values into memory registers. By using an assembler, assembly language can be translated into machine language.
The lowest level of the computer language is machine language or machine code, which includes binary code. Compiling high-level source code for a given processor is commonly used to produce machine language code. Modifying or even look at the machine code is never required by most developers. Viewing the machine code is only needed by the programmer who builds the operating system and software compilers.
Is C or C++ a low-level language?
The C and C++ programming languages come under the category of middle-level languages. Low-level languages provide little or no abstraction of programming concepts, whereas C and C++ programming languages provide the least degree of abstraction to performance and efficiency for the least amount of money. These abstractions like macros, lambda functions, classes help programmers in order to use complex functionality in programming without the need for writing more complex code. Because of this reason, C and C++ languages are considered lower-level languages where maximum performance is paramount; however, abstractions are necessary to keep code maintainable and highly readable.
Low-level programming in high-level languages
In the late 1960s, high-level languages like, extended ALGOL, PL/S, BCPL, BLISS, and C provided some access to low-level programming functions. The approach of embedding assembly code in a high-level language is known as inline assembly. Additionally, several of these languages contain architecture-dependent compiler optimization directives, which allow a compiler to customize its use of the target processor architecture.
Difference between High Level and Low-level languages
The major distinction between high-level and low-level languages is that high-level code is easier to read, interpret, and construct than machine code. On the other hand, machines can easily interpret low-level language as compared to humans.