The Big Reveal of the Easiest and Hardest Programming Languages

How hard is it to learn programming? If you are a beginner in the programming world, that is one of the most common questions that you will have in your head. Actually, we have to consider multiple facts in order to decide the answer to that question. Among them, the programming language you use for coding is the most important one. In this article, we will discuss the easiest programming language and the hardest programming language to learn.

As we can’t give one answer to those questions, we have to discuss a few answers. First, let’s see what the easiest coding languages to learn as a beginner are.

Easiest programming language to learn

1. Python

Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language that is often used as the introductory programming language for beginners. This can be a good indication to tell Python is the easiest programming language to learn. Right?

In Python, you can print “hello” in the console simply by executing print(“hello”). You can understand how simple the syntax of Python is. Python code snippets are highly readable as well.

Python supports several programming paradigms such as object-oriented programming, procedural programming, and functional programming, and it is used as a backend development programming language. In addition, it contains some GUI libraries such as Tkinter as well.

Python is one of the most suitable languages to learn if you are interested in artificial intelligence or data science. You will find that the most popular machine learning libraries like Tensorflow and Keras are written with Python.

Python is a continuously developing language. It also has a large active developer community. Before starting coding, you need to install and set up the python environment in your machine. You can install the newest version of Python here.

2. Java

Some software developers consider Java the easiest programming language to learn for beginners because it consists of intuitive and concise syntax, which is quite beginner-friendly. Java is a popular, class-based, general-purpose programming language that is designed to have fewer implementation dependencies. Usually, Java is used to teach object oriented concepts and basics of design patterns to beginners.

Among the programming languages that are used for enterprise development, Java takes an important place due to its stability and straightforwardness. Java is mainly used for web development and application development. Java has a large active developer community and a large number of learning resources as well.

One of the most important facts about Java is that it’s platform-independent. That means you can execute your program on different types of computers regardless of the machine’s architecture as long as it contains the Java runtime environment (JRE).

Actually, Java is a simple programming language that contains only around 50 keywords. However, Java API, a part of the Java Development Kit (JDK), has a huge list of classes with a large number of methods that can be used in any Java program you write. Don’t try to learn all those methods and classes in Java API as we need a  little portion of it to write programs. You can download the newest version of Java here.

3. PHP

If we order the programming languages by difficulty, PHP is a language that surely falls into the easy category because of its conceptual simplicity. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a popular general-purpose programming language. However, PHP is very often used only for backends in web applications.

PHP can be used to perform CRUD operations (Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete)  easily with databases. PHP works nicely along with HTML scripts as well. Furthermore,

PHP also supports object-oriented concepts.

Learning PHP is relatively easy because of the lesser number of steps to follow executing a PHP program. All you have to do is upload your PHP program to a server (You can use localhost for learning purposes) and execute it. 

Another thing why developers love PHP is it’s a forgiving language. That means the PHP script continues executing with minor faults. PHP scripts will be continued to be executed even with minor errors and warnings. PHP is a language that is filled with many useful shortcuts that saves your time and reduces the number of code lines.

4. Javascript

One of the common questions is whether Javascript is the easiest programming language for beginners? This question comes to the surface due to the widespread popularity JavaScript has gained. According to Stack Overflow’s Annual Survey of 2018, JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language globally.

My answer to the above question is that although JavaScript is not the easiest language to work with, it’s far easier than general-purpose languages like C, C++, C#. JavaScript was initially introduced to write client-side scripts that run on browsers. However, JavaScript has evolved a lot since then. Now you can use JavaScript for both frontend and backend developments through its multiple frameworks like NodeJS, Angular, and ReactJS.

The intuitive syntax of JavaScript, active developing community, and well-documented manual makes it easier to learn JavaScript for beginners.

So those are our picks for the easiest programming languages. Now let’s move on to the next part of the tutorial.

Another favorite question of new programmers is, “what is the most difficult programming language?” Although we can’t give an exact answer to this question, we can definitely discuss several languages in the context of the hardest programming language to learn.

Hardest programming language to learn

1.  Cow programming language

Yes, you heard right. The Cow is a real programming language that was created in 2003.

It’s an esoteric programming language, which means it was designed to test boundaries of the theory of programming languages or as a fun activity rather than to use it for practical purposes. However, as these languages can do everything a universal Turing machine can do, they are rightfully called programming languages.

The Cow programming language has 12 instructions, and all of them are variants of its keyword ‘moo’. Some of these instructions are ‘moo’, ‘moO’, ‘MoO’, ‘mOo’, ‘mOO’, Moo‘ etc. This is a case-sensitive language, and anything other than those instructions is considered a comment and ignored in this language.

If you still can’t understand why this is one of the hardest coding language to learn, I’ll show you how to run “hello world” in this language.

Printing “Hello, World!” in Cow:

Hardest programming languages

Now, don’t you agree with me that this is the most complex coding language?

2.  Malbolge

Malbolge is another esoteric programming language that was developed in 1998 by Ben Olmstead. Fun fact is two years were taken to the first Malbolge program, and with that, you can understand why some programmers consider this language the hardest programming language. It is said that Ben Olmstead has never written even a single Malbolge program.

Let’s see how to write “Hello, World!” in Malbolge so you can identify how tough this language is.

(=<`#9]~6ZY32Vx/4Rs+0No-&Jk)"Fh}|Bcy?`=*z]Kw%oG4UUS0/@-ejc(:'8dc

If you are interested, you can try this language from their official website.

3.  Whitespace

Whitespace is an esoteric language developed by Edwin Brady and Chris Morris. In this language, only spaces, tabs, and linefeeds are allowed to write the code. The interpreter ignores all other characters.

This language supports only integers. It is not implemented to support floating-point numbers. To write a “Hello World” program in Whitespace requires 950 instances of spaces, tabs, and linefeeds.

Whitespace is an imperative stack-based language, and the virtual machine which the programs run on has a stack and a heap. It was introduced on April fools day in 2003. Most people have thought that this is a joke, but it was not. You can try this language here.

4.  Brainfuck

The name itself implies that this is one of the hardest programming languages in the world. It was introduced in 1993 by Urban Muller with the intention of creating a language with the smallest compiler. This language is quite complex as well as unusual.

This language consists of eight commands as < > + – . , [ ] . Each of these symbols is a command in Brainfuck language. Brainfuck language operates in an array of memory cells.

With Brainfuck, you can write programs as a list or a sequence of the above-mentioned commands. The main purpose of using this language for programming is to write minimal lines of code.

You can write “Hello, World!” with Brainfuck as follows.

+[-[<<[+[--->]-[<<<]]]>>>-]>-.---.>..>.<<<<-.<+.>>>>>.>.<<.<-.

Obviously, you will agree with me that this is not the easiest code to learn.

Summary

In this article, we basically answer questions which are the easiest coding languages to learn and what are the hardest coding languages to learn. Popular languages like Python, PHP, Java, and JavaScript belong to the former category. Unusual languages like Cow, Malbolge, Whitespace, and Brainfuck belong to the latter category. If you are a beginner, obviously, you should start with the first category of languages. However, if you are an expert in programming, and if you are interested, you can try the hardest programming language and test something with it.

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