High Level Language (HLL)

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A High-Level Language (HLL) is any programming language that enables development of a program in a much more user-friendly programming context and is generally independent of the computer's hardware architecture. A high-level language has a higher level of abstraction from the computer, and focuses more on the programming logic rather than the underlying hardware components such as memory addressing and register utilization. High-level languages are designed to be used by the human operator or the programmer. They are referred to as "closer to humans." In other words, their programming style and context is easier to learn and implement than low-level languages, and the entire code generally focuses on the specific program to be created. A high-level language does not require addressing hardware constraints when developing a program. However, every single program written in a high-level language must be interpreted into machine language before being executed by the computer.[1]

High Level Language
source: Gaurav Jain

A high-level language is a programming language designed to simplify computer programming. It is "high-level" since it is several steps removed from the actual code run on a computer's processor. High-level source code contains easy-to-read syntax that is later converted into a low-level language, which can be recognized and run by a specific CPU. Most common programming languages are considered high-level languages. Examples include:

1. C++ 2. C#
3. Cobol 4. Fortran
5. #Java 6. JavaScript
7. Objective C 8. Pascal
9. Perl 10. PHP
11. Python 12. Swift

Each of these languages use different syntax. Some are designed for writing desktop software programs, while others are best-suited for web development. But they all are considered high-level since they must be processed by a compiler or interpreter before the code is executed. Source code written in languages like C++ and C# must be compiled into machine code in order to run. The compilation process converts the human-readable syntax of the high-level language into low-level code for a specific processor. Source code written in scripting languages like Perl and PHP can be run through an interpreter, which converts the high-level code into a low-level language on-the-fly.[2]

High Level Vs. Low Level Languages[3]
Low-level languages require little interpretation by the computer. This makes machine code fast compared to other programming languages. Low-level languages gives programmers more control over data storage, memory, and computer hardware. It’s typically used to write kernel or driver software. It wouldn’t be used to write web applications or games.

In contrast, high-level languages are easier to grasp. It allows a programmer to write code more efficiently. High-level languages have more safeguards to keep coders from issues commands that could potentially damage a computer. These languages don’t give programmers as much control as low-level ones do.

Here are some main differences between high and low-level languages:

Differences Between High and Low-Level Languages
High Level Language Low Level Language
Programmer friendly Machine friendly
Less memory efficient Highly memory efficient
Easy to understand for programmers Tough to understand for programmers
Simple to debug Complex to debug comparatively
Simple to maintain Complex to maintain comparatively
Portable Non-portable
Can run on any platform Machine-dependent
Needs compiler or interpreter for translation Needs assembler for translation
Widely used for programming Not commonly used in programming


  1. Definition - What Does High Level Language Mean? Techopedia
  2. What are the different High Level Languages? Techterms
  3. High Level Vs. Low Level Languages Webopedia