Which are the most popular programming languages?

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Whether you are a roboticist or you are considering purchasing a robot for your company, you will want to learn something about programming language for robots. It is important to find which programming language you will use. No need to learn new programming languages which you will never use. The robot software you choose is crucial for your operations.

If you are new to robotics, you want to learn the programming languages that will be useful to you. Different engineers, roboticists and technicians will give you varying answers if you ask them to choose the best programming language. While a new roboticist may be told that it depends on the application they want to use, this answer may not be very helpful.

Key Programming Languages to learn

Experts may not agree on the programming language you need to learn first. They may, however, agree on the key languages you should consider learning. It does not really matter whether you begin with Python or Java.

 Each programming language you choose to learn helps you to grow your proficiency. Then it becomes easier to learn new programming languages whenever it becomes necessary.

Top Popular Programming Languages in Robotics

With over 1500 programming languages in the world, one has to choose the ones that are most useful to them. Some of these languages are rarely used. For practical purposes, it is best to find out which are the most commonly used. Every programming language comes with its particular advantages for robotics.

The following three programming languages are the most valuable in that you will find them in use more often than others.

  • C & C++
  • Experts are in agreement that these are the most popular programming languages. Many who are new to robotics are advised to learn C and C++ first. This is because most hardware libraries use these languages. Other reasons include the following:

    • Ease of interaction with low-level hardware
    • They allow for real-time performance
    • They are mature programming languages

    C++ is more functional than C so you are likely to find that it is more in use nowadays. While C++ is actually an extension, learning C before C++ may be quite useful so that you can recognize it if you come across it on a hardware library.

    C and C++ are not simple to use. Other languages such as Python or MATLAB may be a lot easier than C and C++. Achieving the same functionality takes longer with C and many more lines of code. Nevertheless, these two are the closest thing to a standard language that roboticists have.

    • Python

    Python is making a comeback. One reason for this resurgence in the use of Python especially in robotics maybe that Python and C++ are the two main programming languages to be found in ROS. Python is an interpretive language. One advantage Python over, say, Java is that it is easy to use.

    Python does not take into account many of the usual things that other programming languages do such as defining and casting variable types that take up a lot of time in programming. In addition, there are many free libraries for Python and it allows simple bindings with C and C++. Consequently, the performance of heavy parts of the code can be applied and performance loss avoided.

    • Java

    Java conceals underlying memory functionality from you making programming easier. However, this means that you do not fully grasp what is being done to your code. Some electronic engineers would not advise that Java is taught as the first programming language.

    Java, like Python, is an interpretive language meaning that it cannot be composed into machine code. Due to the Java Virtual Machine, it is possible to use the same code on different machines while using Java.

    There are other languages such as MATLAB and C#/.NET are also valuable and are in the list of top five programming languages that experts suggest anyone new to robotics should learn.