fourth generation language

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fourth generation language

(4GL, or "report generator language") An "application specific" language, one with built-in knowledge of an application domain, in the way that SQL has built-in knowledge of the relational database domain.

The term was invented by Jim Martin to refer to non-procedural high level languages built around database systems.

Fourth generation languages are close to natural language and were built with the concept that certain applications could be generalised by adding limited programming ability to them.

When given a description of the data format and the report to generate, a 4GL system produces COBOL (or other 3GL) code, that actually reads and processes the data and formats the results.

Some examples of 4GL are: database query language e.g.SQL; Focus, Metafont, PostScript, S, IDL-PV, WAVE, Gauss, Mathematica, and data-stream languages such as AVS, APE, Iris Explorer.
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References in periodicals archive ?
According to Johnson, the program was written in Cerner Command Language, Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner's fourth-generation programming language, and designed to read the triage file, parse the data to determine how long the waits are, and send the information by file transfer protocol to Middlesex's Web server.
Research Systems has released IDL (Interactive Data Language) Student Version, a fourth-generation programming language for engineers and scientists.
in Boulder, Colo., has introduced IDL version 5.0, its fourth-generation programming language for building data-analysis and data-visualization applications.