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Spotlight: 4GL


Summary

I can manage your company's books if I have enough chalk and sidewalk space. Just because I can, doesn't make it a good idea. Likewise, I can write and manage complex software with just the things I can write myself. When you get tired of creating your own tools for everything — all the time, every time — you might want to step up to a Fourth Generation Language (4GL).

When we write code a line at a time, we are using a Third Generation Language (3GL). Examples include: mvBASIC, everything in the C-family, Python, and PHP. The natural step-up from a 3GL is a framework. jQuery for JavaScript and and JSTL for Java are examples of frameworks. MultiValue environments are, arguably, also frameworks because they supply built-in tools for interacting with your data. While adding a framework is a powerful approach to accelerating programming speed and expanding your toolkit, you may want to go even further and advance to a 4GL.

Unlike a framework, a 4GL usually includes a combination of code and an Integrated Design Environment (IDE). That means that while a framework connects your code to existing code, the 4GL also helps you write code.

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