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posted Mar 1, 2011, 10:12 AM by Unknown user

A programming language is a set of keywords and grammar rules designed for creating instructions that a computer can ultimately process or carry out. Just as an English sentence is constructed from various words and punctuation marks that follow a set of grammar rules, each instruction for a computer program consists of keywords and parameters that are held together by a set of rules. A keyword, or command, is a word with a pre-defined meaning for the computer or interpreter that translates each line of program code into machine language. Keywords can be combined with specific parameters, which provide more detailed instructions for the computer to carry out. Keywords and parameters are combined with punctuation according to a series of rules called syntax.

An advantage of programming languages is its ability to evolve (i.e. from low-level to high-level). Another advantage of programming languages is that hundreds of them exist, giving programmers additional versatility. A disadvantage that stems from this is that each has unique strengths and weakness, and though it might be possible to select the best language for a particular project, most computer scientists would find it difficult to agree on one all-round best language.


·         Are good at producing applications that run fast

·         Much more understandable (for humans) than machine codes. Machine codes are a system of instructions and data executed directly from a computer's CPU, and uses binary data (0's and 1's)

·         Allows greater portability - can be easily adapted to run on many computers

·         Precise and finite definition (this is also a disadvantage, see below)

·         If an experienced programmer makes the programming language, a very detailed program can then be made, much more detailed than Word or Excel. It can achieve visual and interactive effects,

·         Novices can also learn how to program, by using the Scratch programming language. This is a website which makes it easy for the average person to create their own interactive stories, animations, games and art.



·         Due to complexity, development times are usually slow

·         Difficulty in debugging

·         Unsuitability for prototyping

·         There is no one "universal" programming language that serves all purposes, so one may have to learn many languages.

·         When communicating with your friends, if you say something wrong or mispronounce a word they can still understand your main points. However, with programming languages, computers "do exactly what they are told to do", so if you make an error when writing the syntax, the computer cannot understand your intention.

·         It must be written carefully - if the programmer makes mistakes, the program might then crash or stop working. When a program has a problem because of how the code was written, it is called a bug. For example, forgetting a space or typing a plus sign instead of a minus sign can cause a major bug.

·         This also means that if you want a complex and detailed program, only experienced programmers who know what they are doing can be used.


Programming languages are used to make all computer programs and computer software.

One of the main industries in which programming languages are used is the gaming industry. Other forms of multimedia creation cannot handle the complexity required to make a full 3D game. Using programming languages with a decent level of proficiency requires years of learning and training; and even then, it takes a long time to make a complex file. Therefore, game creation requires many people working full time. The people who make games do it for a living and they can have many job titles ranging from graphics designer to game developer.  Most consumers don't deal with programming languages. All this is done by the software manufacturers and the end product with a GUI (graphical user interface) is presented to the consumer.

A computer programmer, often called a developer, creates and modifies computer program, and in doing so may choose to utilise programming languages. Although software engineers have the skills tod design, code, test and document software, they tend to focus on designing and testing activities.

Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Programmers use Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE), developed by Sun Microsystems, to create stand-alone programs for desktop computers and servers. Similarly, programmers use Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) to create programs for smart phones and other mobile devices. Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition) is a set of technologies built on Sun’s Java SE that allows programmers to develop and deploy large applications for organisations, often used in Web 2.0 environments for Web applications.

C++ is an object-oriented programming language that is an extension of the C programming language. C++ includes all the elements of the C language, plus it has additional features for working with objects, classes, events and other object-oriented concepts. Programmers commonly use C++ to develop database and Web applications.  Much application software, such as word processing and spreadsheet programs, also is written in C++.

Visual Basic is a programming language that allows programmers easily to build complex task-oriented object-based programs. Visual Basic is based on the BASIC programming language, which was developed by Microsoft Corporation in the early 1990s.   

Contrast a low-level programming language with a high-level programming language, with specific reference to functionality. (2)

A low-level language is a programming language that is machine dependent, and therefore not easily portable to other types of computers. Each language instruction in a low-level language usually equates to a single machine instruction. By contrast, a language instruction in a high level language typically equates to multiple machine instructions, and therefore is often machine independent.

Analyse the advantages of the use of object-oriented programming languages. (3)

An OOP has the ability to reuse and modify existing objects. For example, once a programmer creates an Employee object, it is available for use by another existing or future program. As a result, the objects become designed for repeated use, and become stable over time. In addition, programmers create applications faster because they design programs using existing objects. OOPs also work well in a RAD (rapid application development) environment, in which users begin working with sections of the program as they are completed.

Authoring Software

1.    Describe the software.

Authoring software is something that helps you to write hypertext or multimedia applications. Authoring software, also known as authoring tools, usually enables you to create a final application merely by linking together objects, such as a paragraph of text, an illustration, or a song. By defining the objects' relationships to each other, and by sequencing them in an appropriate order, designers can produce attractive and useful graphics applications.

To be more specific authoring software integrates an array of media to create professional, engaging and appealing content that can be used for many purposes. Authoring tools combine a PC and ‘what you see is what you get’ page layout software to create publication documents on a computer for either large-scale publishing or small-scale local multifunction peripheral output and distribution. Most authoring tools also support a scripting language for more sophisticated applications.

Compared to programming tools such as Dreamweaver and Expression Web, authoring tools require less technical knowledge to master and are used exclusively for applications that present a mixture of textual, graphical, and audio data.

2.    Identify its unique advantages and disadvantages.

a.    Advantages

Authoring software is used to create very professional products in both aesthetics and quality. Authoring tools are software that create an ‘application’ so unlike simple software such as word, which can only create something plain with words and a few pictures. However with authoring software you can make something appealing like a poster through Publisher. There are things you can do with authoring software that you cannot do with other software, such as the vast use of hypertext in documents and ability to create highly interactive media. This leads to the main advantage of authoring software is that they allow the responder, that is the person who is looking at the product, to gain more understanding about the topic through the interactive nature of it and its appealing views due to the attractive colours and fonts.

b.    Disadvantages

Despite all the advantages of authoring software, this all comes at a cost of the software being typically hard to use. The software will typically have a vast variety of tools (e.g. all the stuff in Photoshop) that are very hard to learn. There is also the cost of these software, they are not typically used by novices and only by people who are professionals that have experience with the software. This makes them very expensive to purchase (in contrast to typical software e.g. MS office is 200-300 dollars but one piece of adobe software may be over 400 dollars, with suits priced in the thousands).  However, not all authoring software is expensive, the standard MS software is reasonable but the more advanced software for use in industry and business is expensive. Overall, this means that advanced authoring tools for business are hard to use and are expensive but for basic authoring software for general home and school use they are relatively cheap and easy to use.

3.    List out its typical uses: the products generally produced by the software, and the normal users.

Authoring software can be used for editing images, audio, text and video data and creating and editing complex page layouts. It has many uses over a variety of industries. The uses of authoring software are:

·         Training of participants in companies, which is made easier due to its interactive nature

·         Educating students

·         Selling/promoting products, which can be done easily due to the appeal of the products that authoring software creates

·         To put out a point of view to the general public and give general information about the situations happening. This could be done through twisting the current data to portray your view e.g. a photo is edited to show something different to what really occurred.

·         School assignments such as PowerPoint presentations, brochures and flyers.

·         Office discussions such as the project manager informing the group about the details of the current project through the portrayal of a presentation and giving out of handouts.

·         Creation of short films such as the Tropfest movies

The products that authoring software creates are:

·         Posters

·         Brochures

·         Flyers

·         Presentations

·         Videos


·         Magazine and Newspaper editors

·         Office workers

·         Students

·         Politicians (propaganda)

·         Retailers

·         Real estate industry

·         Food industry i.e. pizza companies.

4.       Concrete examples of (i) this kind of software (several are posted above) and (ii) the products it creates.

Examples of authoring software include presentation creation software such as PowerPoint, graphics design/creation software such as Photoshop, video editing/creation software such as Premiere and Moviemaker, and publishing software such as InDesign, QuarkXPress and Publisher.

These products are usually used to create items for consumption, often in an educational setting i.e. training and educating students. Items such as magazines, books, posters, interactive or non-interactive presentations, videos, factsheets and flyers are all examples of items created using authoring software.

5.    Research this kind of software and pose 5 marks worth of questions for your presentation group to investigate and answer (use the HSC keywords to construct your question)


1.       Identify two products of authoring software. (2 marks)

2.       Evaluate the statement: “Authoring tools rely heavily on multimedia for their content”. (3 marks)


1.       Justify the statement, “Authoring software is advantageous to the high school student”. (2 marks)

2.       A major company is deciding to change their way of training participants from printed manuals to one that uses a combination of products created by authoring software. As a system analyst, construct an argument, with reference to specific examples, that supports this new decision in changing participant training? (3 marks)


Scripting Software - Notes

·         Describe or outline

o    Scripting Software is a category of software that helps creates html-scripted webpages. It is used to assist people in making webpages, simplifying the method and removing the need for the user to put in their scripts.

o    It usually has a simple, easy to use interface (like the Microsoft Office suite). Whenever an input is placed into the webpage, it converts the input into html.

o    The script is shown as its final product on the screen. Modifications can be done here, which are automatically converted into html and shown on the page. The html 'behind' the page can also be accessed.

o    More complex commands, such as linking and such on the page, can be done through the commands in the toolbars. This can be used to link the webpage to other pages, videos, and pictures.

o    Dreamweaver can also write up scripts in different formats - xml (extensible markup language), Javascript, and Visual Basic (VB), and other languages. Some can also 'combine' languages into one page.

·         Identify advantages and disadvantages

o    + Simple and easy to learn to use

o    + Allows people who cannot write html to make a webpage

o    + Allows real-time preview of the finished webpage

o    + More complex or harder to judge script (images, indented text) are easier to place.

o    - Does not allow you to do anything you want to do

·         Typical uses of the software

o    New or unexperienced webpage makers

o    Casual internet users - make your own webpage

o    Webpage design - testing colours, formats, styles

·         Concrete examples

o    Dreamweaver

o    Google Sites

o    Adobe Flash Professional

·         Research and write 5 marks worth of questions

                  Explain How has scripting software changed the internet. Has it made the internet a better source of information or not?

o    Anybody can now create their own webpage easily now  with the use of scripting software. What does this mean for communication with others? Does it pose any problems to the original creator of the webpage?

                   With all the new free websites created, what social and ethical issues are there? Does it expose people or cause problem for sharing? If so, how?