Refers to a group of high level languages used primarily for the manipulation of data bases. 4GL languages have a syntax mimicking the English language and operate on sets or subsets of data rather than on single elements as do most conventional languages (such as FORTRAN or PASCAL).
a specification driven, non-procedural programming language used to interpret and manipulate data in a DBMS or some other computer file. (See Program Generator, and Report Writer).
Computer language designed to be the easiest for programmers enabling them to write software using plain English terms.
Fourth generation languages are programming languages closer to human languages than typical high level programming languages. Most 4GLs are used to access databases. For example a typical 4GL command is "FIND ALL RECORDS WHERE NAME IS "SMITH"."
It is much more difficult to distinguish particular characteristics of 4GLs than for 3GLs, but the general distinguishing characteristic is the level of abstraction. The computation models that underlie 3GLs are usually not directly discernible at the 4GL level and the 4GLs typically introduce a variety of constructs that simply do not exist at the 3GL level (e.g., encapsulation and problem space entity abstraction). Typically the 4GL languages raise the bar for symbolic representation by being predominantly graphical rather than text-based. UML, since the addition of action semantics in v1.5 and support for executable models via MDA, qualifies as a true 4GL.
Often abbreviated 4GL, fourth-generation languages are programming languages closer to human languages than typical high-level programming languages. Most 4GLs are used to access databases.