28 the result of the execution of the fourth

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Unformatted text preview: ges to secondgeneration assembly languages brought approximately a seven-to-one improvement in programmer productivity. A much more significant improvement in programmer productivity was found in the move from second-generation assembly languages to third-generation high-level languages. The efforts for the search of new programming languages which could further improve programmer productivity continued even after the advent of third-generation high-level languages. The result of these efforts has been the fourth-generation languages, which claim programmer productivity improvements of 200% to 1000% over third-generation high-level languages. There is a major shift in fourth-generation languages as compared to the languages of previous generations. All previous-generation languages were procedural languages whereas fourth-generation languages are non procedural languages. A procedural language (such as COBOL, FORTRAN, BASIC) is one that requires the programmer to spell out the steps in the processing procedures needed to achieve a desired result. On the other hand, a non-procedural language allows the user to simply specify "what" the output should be without describing all the details of "how" the data should be manipulated to produce that result. With this type of flexibility provided by fourth-generation languages, many computer users often find it easier and quicker to write a program themselves than to depend on a professional programmer who will write a program for generating the desired report. Fourth-generation languages are so user-friendly that with a day or two of training and practice, a computer-competent user can learn to write programs, make inquires, and generate the desired reports on his/her own. Fourth-generation languages use high-level English-like instructions. They require the programmer to specify only "what" to do, not "how" to do it. Most of the procedure portion (steps to carry out the intended task) of a fourth-generation language program is generated autom...
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