Fourth generation language:
This refers to a programming language that can be employed directly end users or less-skilled programmers to develop computer applications more rapidly than conventional programming languages. Some features of 4GLs include:
1. Prototyping – a systems development technique that uses software in a package of forms and screen painters, to allow the user to quickly produce a simulation of the output required from the finished system
2. Query languages- 4GL tools which may be used in conjunction with a DBMS to enter,update and retrieve information without having to use conventional programs
3. Report generators – 4GL tools that augment the features of a query language with theability to format a management report with headings, sections and totals
4. Application generators – 4GL tools that allow the creation of complete application programs. The degree of sophistication of these programs may vary from an end user setting up a program to accept data and produce business graphics, to a more sophisticated programmer creating software capable of sophisticated file management and transaction processing.
1st alternative: Support the statement. Backing grounds:
1. 4GLs support development prototyping which results in software being developed in a short time since user requirements can be quickly clarified with this approach.
2. Query languages enable end users to quickly update and retrieve information without having to use conventional programs thus reducing the delay in applications development.
3. Report generators such as Oracle report writer enable end users to quickly create and format management reports with headings, sections and totals thus reducing application development time.
4. Application generators enable the speedy creation of complete application programs in a 4GL thus reducing application development time.
5. 4GLs enable the creation of management information systems via query languages, report generators and application generators. Such information systems are capable of producing periodic, exception and adhoc reports which make information freely and readily available to managers for the purpose of decision making.
2nd alternative answer: Disapprove the statement Backing grounds:
1. End users using a 4GL or 4GL tool still require some training on the various features of 4GLs and hence there is a significant amount of systems development time spent on training. These delays in applications development may be significant.
2. Prototyping is a feature of 4GLs doesn‘t necessarily imply short development time since the process of iteration of changes to the system being developed may be long before an acceptable system is delivered to the user.
3. In cases wherethe prototype is coded in a high-level language after acceptance the end-user, considerable development time is spent coding the prototype.
4. Reports that are produced 4GL tools are only available to those end users who are capable of manipulating queries to produce desired reports. Such an end-user needs to be trained on formation of queries. Thus it can be argued that 4GLs do not make information freely and readily available to everyone. They only make information freely and readily available to trained users.