Programming Languages and Their Use Cases

Every now and then, another rating of the most popular programming languages arrives, prompting decision-makers to question the choice of language for their new project. Luckily, various ratings by RedMonk, GitHub, PyPL Index, Tiobe, Stack Overflow and suchlike depict that the changes on the top 10 languages list are subtle. We have compiled our own go-to guide to the best coding languages in relation to the business challenges they address.

programming

Factors to Consider

Before we proceed to the list, let’s explore the various factors that may influence our choice. Frequently, the team’s skillset is the only determinant. However, making the decision solely using this factor is likely to bring difficulties in the future.

On top of the existing team’s expertise, there are technical aspects that should be prioritized when deciding on a language:

  • Technological characteristics and performance capabilities of the language — elasticity, coding speed, performance, memory consumption, IDE availability, error handling
  • Technological considerations — infrastructure, platform, technology, legacy codebase, frameworks, architectural environment
  • Security considerations
  • Economic considerations — the costs of licensing, employee training and codebase migration
  • Legal considerations
  • Project’s business objective that the ultimate solution is expected to address

The business objective is the aspect that we would like to consider closely. In this brief overview, we will leave out the technicalities and focus on the most popular languages with respect to the business needs they meet.

C

С has influenced, directly or not, many others, including C++, C#, Go, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, Perl, PHP, Python and Swift. Most of them inherited its control structure, syntax and some basic features.

High speed, stability, efficiency and availability are among the reasons why C is popular for addressing various technological and business challenges. Moreover, other languages’ libraries, interpreters, compilers and reference implementations are often written in C, which is why it is used as an intermediate language.

C++

Released in the early 80s as the extension of C — “C with Classes” — C++ has significantly improved over time and has transformed into a high-performing language. A lot of vendors implement it as a compiled language — IBM, Oracle, Intel, Microsoft and others.

Like its ancestor, C++ was initially designed for system programming and embedded development. Now, its use spans resource-limited software — video games, desktop enterprise applications, servers — and high-speed applications. It is also a good choice for scientific computing and mathematical software.

C#

Another offspring of С, C# was created as its incremental compiling version — even its name indicates it. Called after a musical note, the sharp sign depicts that this language is just a semitone different from its ancestor. The project has failed, but the name is still alive.

In 2001, Microsoft once again created the language for its .NET initiative, to develop software components that are deployed in distributed environments. Since then, C# powers solutions based on the .NET framework and serves enterprise and game development, data visualization and storage.

Go

Go, frequently referred to as Golang, is a rising star, and we could not leave it out in the cold. Google’s pet project, this modern language was designed to create distributed systems and powerful software that can address “real-world challenges,” such as low-speed program setup, uncontrolled dependencies, duplication, cross-language interoperability and many others.

Since its creation in 2009, Go has been steadily gaining momentum, and it now occupies the 11th position in TIOBE Index for February 2020. Some experts predict that the chances that one day Golang will substitute C and C++ are high.

Java

This general-purpose, object-oriented language named after coffee has been on the market since 1996 and is not about to roll over. In fact, statistics show that Java is the number one programming language when it comes to the number of job postings. Write Once, Run Anywhere, as Java’s slogan asserts — what this all about?

With Java, a business kills two birds with one stone: it can build any software, from comprehensive business systems to desktop software to robust Android-based mobile applications. This versatile language is also efficient in creating data visualization software, distributed systems, data storage solutions and Big Data management software.

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JavaScript

No, JavaScript does not have any relation to Java, except that both of them have similar syntax and standard libraries — they are very different when it comes to other characteristics. JavaScript is a core web development technology that enables page interactivity. A large majority of websites rely on it to manage client-side behavior.

Over time, the use of JavaScript outgrew the client-side, and now it also spans the development of web and mobile applications, distributed systems, non-browser software and the server-side of website deployments.

PHP

The acronym PHP was originally short for “Personal Home Page.” Over time, it morphed into “PHP: Hyertext Preprocessor” — it is obvious that was designed for web development. Since its release in 1995, PHP has powered thousands of websites and is still the number one web development language. It continues to become ever more efficient, cost-effective and faster.

WordPress, Drupal and Joomla use PHP as the server-side language, with Facebook and Wikipedia relying on it as well. Besides its use in the web context, PHP also enables the development of graphical and drone control applications.

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Python
Amazing but true, this language was not called after a snake — instead, it’s named after Monty Python! For almost 30 years, Python has been proclaiming code readability and visual succinctness, heavy use of significant whitespace, English keywords instead of punctuation and logical coding as its design philosophy.

Python serves for a wide variety of purposes: the development of extensive web applications, data storage, Big Data processing, data science, data visualization, video games, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and information security. For many operating systems, Python has become a standard component. Also, it is the number one choice when it comes to script writing, complex structure rendering and natural language processing.

SQL

SQL, or Structured Query Language, was created almost 50 years ago to manage data that are held in databases and ensure the smooth communication of data repositories with other system components. Now, it is the standard language for relational database management systems.

RDBMS solutions from prominent market players, such as Microsoft, Oracle and Ingress, all use SQL; however, almost all of them combine it with their special-purpose proprietary extensions. A tool to query data from RDBMS, SQL also processes streams and handles structured data.

Swift

Developed by Apple as an alternative to Objective-C, Swift seems to eliminate the need for its predecessor. Sometimes called as “Objective-C without the C,” it operates under a principle of up-to-date programming concepts and has a simple syntax. Software for macOS, iOS, Linux and other native operative systems for Apple is the area on which Swift focuses.

Follow Your Goals

As it follows from the list, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That is why we recommend going by a business goal that software is expected to support in the first place. Once you get a clear idea of a solution you need to develop, you can pick languages that can help you achieve it. Then, you can dig deeper and select the one that meets all your considerations — technological, economic, legal and security.

Stack for Web App Development in 2020

Though we live in the mobile-dominated age, web applications are still prevalent and a preferred choice for enterprises for certain features. Progressive web apps is an example of the web app’s adaptability and capability to act like mobile apps. It is fair to mention that web applications are here to stay. As technology evolves, many advancements arrive for developing a web application with desired features.

Web App

However, for building a successful web application, you need to choose the right blend of technologies or a high-quality technology stack. The proper technology stack can increase your web application’s market reach and make the entire web app development project successful. The technology stack has a direct impact on the performance of the web application. Once you identify the right technology stack, you can hire full-stack web developers for your project.

Looking at the importance of choosing the right technology stack, here we cover every aspect related to the necessary factors and structure of various technologies. But, before digging deep into the topic, let’s find out the meaning of a technology stack.

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  • What is technology stack?

Technology stack is a combination of all technical components like tools, programming languages, frameworks, and technologies useful for developing customized software. When it comes to web app development, we need to think about the structure of technology stack from two aspects-

• Front-end
• Back-end

Let’s go through them one after another.

Front-end Web Development Technologies
Front-end web development enables users to see and interact with your app. Web browsers like Safari or Chrome are responsible for user interaction. As the front-end development is responsible for the user interaction, technologies used in it are known as client-side technologies.

• HTML and CSS
Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are like the backbone of web development. HTML is useful for designing the front-end portion of web pages by defining the link between the web pages. CSS, on the other hand, makes the web pages appealing by managing the design components. Simply put, HTML makes the web page while CSS gives style to it.

• JavaScript and Related Libraries
JavaScript is a scripting language for making the website interactive. When it comes to web app development, it can enhance the web app’s functionality. AngularJSReactJS, etc. are popular JavaScript-based frameworks that are extensively used for developing user-friendly and interactive web apps.

Backend Web Development Technologies
The back-end web development is designed to powering the front-end while enabling users to perform specific actions. This part is not visible to users, and therefore, it is known as server-side technologies.

Backend technologies consist of programming languages, servers, and databases. Here we go through some of the important programming languages and databases.

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Programming Languages

• PHP– It is a server-side scripting language. As the most popular and preferred language, PHP empowers many websites and web applications. CakePHP and Laravel are important PHP-based frameworks for developing customized web solutions.

• Java– It is also one of the most popular and useful programming languages for developing web solutions. It is a highly scalable and flexible language to build a successful web application.

• C++– It is a highly-used programming language for competitive programming. As a backend language, it is used to build a customized web application.

• Ruby– It is a reflective, object-oriented, dynamic language. Everything available in this language is in the object form. However, procs and lambda are replacements of Ruby’s components in blocs.

Databases

• Oracle– This database treats the collection of data as a unit. Oracle enables users to store and retrieve information on any query. It is useful to manage information efficiently.

• MongoDB– It is the most popular, open-source, document-oriented NoSQL database. Here ‘No’ denotes as ‘non-relational’. MongoDB is not dependent on the table-like relational database but provides a completely different mechanism for storage and data retrieval.

Servers

• Nginx– It is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, a generic TCP/UDP proxy server, and a mail proxy server.

• Apache– It offers a high-level of abstraction for processing. It also provides a high-level scripting language Pig Latin to develop a data analysis code.

After looking at various popular technology stacks, let’s go through top factors to consider while choosing the right technology stack.

  • Which Factors Should You Consider While Choosing Technology Stack?

Every web application has a different size and feature requirements. Other important factors are scalability, duration, security, and web app development cost.

Let’s discuss all the important factors for developing a web application with desired features and excellent functionality.

App Size
The size of your web app matters the most while selecting the right technology stack. The reason is simple- if your web app is large, it becomes more complex, and therefore, you need a more advanced and robust tech stack.

Small web apps– These apps consist of 1 to 3 web pages, portfolios, and other web-based solutions. Such apps do not require much time to develop.
Med-size web apps– Apps for financial sectors, online businesses, etc. fall under this category. They need a more complex and advanced technology stack than small apps.
Large web apps– Social networking apps and on-demand marketplaces are considered as large web apps. They need higher performance, scalability, and serviceability as compared to mid-sized and small web apps.

Competitive programming- Algorithm skills

We all know that competitive programming consists of coding contests and events. Under these events, participants have to write programs/codes under given specifications. Many multinational tycoons such as Facebook and Google conduct and admire CP events. Some of the most popular competitions include Google Code Jam, ICPC, Russian AI Cup, and CodeChef.

competitive

Competitive programming is majorly a sport, but a mental one. It tests your competitive spirit and competence towards a particular ability.

History

The oldest contest known is the ACM-ICPC (International Collegiate Programming Contest). It was held at Texas A&M University in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honor Society (UPE). The programming language used was FORTRAN.

CP is a good platform for programmers to up their game. Competitive programming could also lead to better bids and offers in freelancing sites. Now coming to the point, here is our guide to competitive programming. This will help you make better decisions and make the best out of CP.

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Programming language

I would suggest you learn C, C++ or Java. Learning C++ is easy if you understand C easily. You should learn C++ since it has a standard template library that contains functionalities like vectors and sets. These come handy while solving specific problems.

Java is also a good option since it is used by a few top coders, and also the commands are easy to understand. So this is the first step to competitive programming. What next?

Apply on competitive programming portals

First, go for HackerRank. They have fairly easy questions, a plus for beginners. Also, its user interface is convenient.

It has a test in which there is a mixture of easy and medium questions. The questions are generally simple for someone with zero experience in competitive programming. He/she will solve the first few questions. Try to attempt all the easy level questions, and it is fine if you solve a lesser number of medium questions. Moreover, this is enough to fetch you a call from a HackerRank CP executive.

Now, apply on CodeChef and Codeforces.

CodeChef conducts long competitions, which helps a programmer improve his/her deep thinking.

Codeforces is popular for its 2-hour rounds. These contests are recommended if you want to increase your thinking and coding speed. In a nutshell, taking part in these two portals will make you a good programmer. How?

You become competent in two skills, deep thinking, and coding speed. Still, it is okay if you are interested and/or competent in any one of these portals. Because this will help you become a better programmer.

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Best practices for competitive programming

Learn new algorithms that are better and implement them when needed.

  • Use functions and minimize the repetition of code.
  • Maintain pre-written templates for standard algorithms, necessary headers, functions, etc.
  • Gain knowledge of data structures.
  • Select a programming language that you are most comfortable with.

Benefits of competitive programming

CP helps to improve your analytical and logical skills. Also, you gain knowledge of algorithms. This is a good skill to be added to your resume. Moreover, you can find equally passionate people in your journey to CP. Tech giants support CP.

Watch the video below to get an insight on competitive programming:

Competitive programming facts

  • In competitive programming, coders solve coding problems using algorithms and data structures.
  • Skills required for CP are basic math, algorithm, programming and typing speed.
  • It’s a myth that it’s too late to start CP. The fact is, there is no fixed age to join CP.
  • With CP, a coder may become a master of coding, but lack knowledge of frameworks. Frameworks are important for real-life projects.

Final word

Optionally, you can apply to TopCoder. The secret to getting proposals from Google and similar tech giants is to be consistent. Therefore, participate in contests, try to improve your rank, and build your rating.

Alternatively, you can do competitive programming on the side and also learn practical skills. Your decent CP experience combined with requisite practical skills will enable you to get all those jobs and internships you dreamed of.