Fourth generation languages and their application during system development.
Fourth generation languages (4GLs) describes a set of computer based tools or facilities which assist program users in the design and preparation of an application. They help the user to develop their own application more readily and cheaply without consulting analysts and programmers.
Fourth generation languages can help users during an information system development in the following ways: –
1. 4GLs are non-procedural and as such, program functions are not produced by the user but the 4GL itself. Users simply request for the data processing result or output instead of providing the detail physical and logic used. This helps to come up with applications more quickly and cheaply with minimal errors. This aspect is critical in the case of program development and results to increased programmers productivity.
2. 4GLs are problem oriented in that programs are designed to solve particular problems using English like structures. Being problem oriented makes the language more
productive to specific applications. This is vital in the case of information system development since it ensures quality and productivity of applications developed.
3. 4GLs enhance user creativity and productivity. Unlike procedural languages, 4GL tends to promote user computing spirit and skills. User acceptance acknowledgement and understanding will enhance reduction of technophobia: thus more quality and reliable systems.
4. System maintenance and flexibility is enhanced. 4GLs facilitate a continuous process of application development. The rigid requirement and the technical requirement involved in system development life cycle is reduced. Change in user requirements can always be incorporated in the systems design from time to time.
5. 4GLs enhance end user computing and so limiting the use of IT staff.
6. They help the organisation to top over creativity thus new information systems will be of higher quality.
7. 4GLs help in the diffusion of information technology throughout the organisation.