Is Matlab a high-level language?

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MATLAB is a high language and also an interactive environment for several activities such as numerical computation, visualization, and even programming. Just to go further, you can use MATLAB to perform several activities such as analyzing data, developing algorithms, and even creating models and applications. I hope that is interesting to hear, isn’t that so?
Besides that, you also need to know that the language tools and also built-in math functions are very helpful whenever you are in need of exploring several approaches and also helps you in arriving at a solution faster as compared to the use of spreadsheets or even through the use of other traditional languages such as C, C++ or even Java.

All that said is just a brief overview of what MATLAB has to offer for its users whenever they have related tasks to accomplish.
You should also know that MATLAB 8 can be described as an ambitious program due to several reasons. The program has hundreds of commands that you can exploit whenever you are doing mathematics. Just as earlier said, you can use the program to graph functions, solve equations, and conduct statistical tests, and many others that are related to mathematics.

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Another interesting that you need to be aware of is that MATLAB is a high language that can also communicate with its other cousins, such as FORTRAN and C. You can also use it to produce good sound and animate graphics. You can go further by doing simulations and modeling more so when you have access to not only the basic MATLAB but also some of its other accessories such as Simulink.

With all of these other MATLAB accessories, you can build materials and export them to the Internet. Also, you can make use of MATLAB whenever you want to merge mathematical computations together with text and graphics so that you can have an end product that is well polished, integrated, and also is an interactive document.

You don’t have to perceive MATLAB as a fancy calculator since it’s an extremely useful and also more versatile tool that you can exploit. Do you know so little about MATLAB? If so, you don’t have to be worried since you can still make use of it whenever you want to come up with wonderful things. The only downside that you might stumble on is figuring out which of the several exact commands it has aboard, scores of the help pages, and also multiple items of documentation that you need to focus on so as to begin using it quickly and make it more productive.

With all that said, let’s dive in and discuss everything touching on MATLAB! I hope you’ll enjoy reading this article.

Is Matlab a high-level language
Is Matlab a high-level language

What is considered a high-level language?

Now, what can be your answer when asked about what a high-level language really is? Perhaps you might give it a better guess or completely get confused on how to rightly answer it, isn’t that so? Regardless of your more likely outcome, here’s how you ought to have answered it!

A high-level language can be easily defined as a programming language that is designed in a way to simplify or makes computer programming easier. That was to be your answer or something closer to that when asked about what a high-level language is. 

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There are many reasons that can back up Matlab as being a high-level language. One of the reasons is that it has numerous steps that are removed from the original code that is run on a computer processor. Keep in mind that a high-level language source code has a very easy-to-read syntax that is later changed into a low-level language that the computer can easily recognize, read, and then run by its CPU. 

As you may know, several common programming languages are considered to be high-level languages. Some of them that you may know of is not limited to:

  • Swift
  • Pascal
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Perl
  • Objective C
  • C++
  • Cobol
  • C#
  • Java
  • Fortran
  • JavaScript

All the above-listed languages don’t use the same syntax. It will be of help if you take note that some of these are mainly designed for creating desktop software programs, while some also are used in web development. 

Even though they are used in executing conflicting tasks, all the above-listed programming languages are considered high-level languages since all of them have to be processed by the compiler or even an interpreter before they are executed.

In other simple words, all the source codes of languages such as C++ and even C# must be first compiled into a machine code for them to be run. During the compilation stage, all of the human-readable syntaxes of the high-level languages are converted into low-level language for a given processor. 

For high-level languages such as Perl and also PHP, they can be instead run through an interpreter, that converts high-level codes into a low-level code or language. 

Is Matlab a good programming language?

Is Matlab a good programming language? If you haven’t used Matlab programming language before then, there are many things that you can use to weigh up whether it can be a good language from your end or if it can be a terrible one. 

According to several programmers, Matlab is a terrible programming language due to several reasons. In this article, we are going to list down some of these drawbacks that cause Matlab to be considered a terrible programming language. Some of these reasons are not limited to:

Lack of Documentation

Well, the first drawback of using the Matlab programming language is that it is not documented. This isn’t documentation about things such as functions that the language offers; these are available in plenty. The documentation that is lacking is about the syntax and semantics of the language. 

When you compare documentation of other popular programming languages, nearly all of them are perfectly documented, such as there is a description of the language and also a description of the standard library. As opposed to Matlab, there is only the latter. 

Everything is in the same namespace

Are you aware that Matlab doesn’t have a namespace? Everything offered is located on the same global namespace. It’s right to say that nobody recalls what names are already in use by Matlab and also which ones are not. Again, you will notice that several predefined names are scattered all over the place. Due to all these messes, it’s impossible to avoid accidentally redefining or using some of the names that Matlab has already used for something else. 

Lack of 1-D arrays 

Are you aware that Matlab lacks support for a one-dimensional array? This makes representation of a set of elements very difficult since you have difficult solutions to choose from. 

Semicolon alters Semantics 

When you are using Matlab, you will realize that the semicolon is used as both a statement terminator and also to suppress printing of the evaluated expression. This appears to be very reasonable, but it can at some point turn to determine how the printed expression behaves. 

Functions are too clever 

Nearly all Matlab functions are always clever in anticipating what the user wants to be done. Sadly, all that cleverness cannot be turned off whenever you don’t need it. 

There are several other reasons that make many people consider Matlab as a terrible programming language that we have not listed in this article. 

Is Matlab a bad language?

Just as discussed in the previous paragraphs, many people find Matlab to be a bad language. Here, we are just going to reiterate the same thing that we discussed in the last paragraph or subtopic above. 

What kind of coding is Matlab?

This question takes us back to the definition of Matlab that we discussed in the introduction. Matlab is simply a propriety multi-paradigm programming language and also a numeric computing environment that is built by MathWorks. 

Matlab permits matrix manipulations, plotting functions and also data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and lastly, interfacing with the programs written in their own languages. 

To understand this language in detail, we are going to discuss the entire Matlab system. Are you aware that Matlab consists of five pillar parts? These parts include:

The Matlab language

Well, the Matlab language mainly consists of a high-level matrix or array language that has several statements, functions, data structures, input and output, and also object-oriented programming features. Matlab permits the use of both “programming in the small” to enable you to be fast and also dirt throw away programs and also the “programming in the large” to enable you to come up with complete large and also complex application programs. 

The Matlab environment 

Here, there are a number of tools that you make use of as either a Matlab user or even as a programmer. All that you are provided with here are the facilities that you can use to manage variables in your workspace and also importing and exporting data. Other tools that are available here are used in developing, managing, debugging, and also profiling M-files. 

Handle Graphics

Matlab has a graphic system, and it has high-level commands for two-dimensional and three-dimensional data visualization, animation, image processing, and also presentation graphics. Besides that, it also offers low-level commands that enables one to fully customize the looks or appearance of the graphics and also how to create full Graphical User Interfaces on your Matlab applications. 

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Is Matlab a scripting language?

The short answer for this particular question is that Matlab is a scripting language since its pillar functions are all pre-compiled as mex files. That’s all you need to know about Matlab being a scripting language. 

Scripting vs. programming language

For you to come up with programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Internet Browsers, and many others, you have to write programming languages. Some of these languages are C, C++, Java, and many others. The coding of these programs should be created in a manner that the user can easily build or even add other new functions to them. Due to the above-stated reason, a new better bytecode was really necessary so as to come up with a clear and proper interface. Due to this urge, Scripting language was formed. 

Just to make your understanding easier, a programming language is simply an artificial language that enables communication between instructions and also the machine, while on the other end, a scripting language is also a type of programming language that aids in managing one or even several applications without the need of compilation. 


 Scripting Language

 Programming Language


  Type of language

Interpreter based

Compiler based



Merge existing components

Build from scratch



Inside another program

Independent from the main program



Makes coding simple and fast

Offers full use of language



No need to compile

Needs to be compiled first


  File type

Doesn’t build a file type

Builds a .exe file


  Coding type

Small piece of code

Full code of a program


  Time to develop

Less time needed to code

More time needed to write codes



Easy to build and use




Few and short lines of codes

Several lines of each function



Low maintenance

High maintenance



JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Perl, VB Script and many more

C,C++, Java, Pascal, COBOL, and many others



What language is Matlab similar to?

Is there any other language that is similar to Matlab or very close to it? Well, let’s find out. Right from the Matlab page, Matlab is a high-level language and also an interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and, lastly, programming. Without thinking twice, Matlab is a language that is mainly focused on mathematical models and even methods used. This is the reason why it’s named MATLAB. Matlab is known to be very similar to Wolfram’s Mathematica, and at the same time, has certain other differences. 

The last thing that you also need to know is that MATLAB is not free. Keep in the back of your mind that both commercial and also academic licenses are a bit expensive. 

Matlab can also be used as an efficient visualization tool 

Just as earlier mentioned, Matlab is a high-performance language that is ideal for technical computing. It further integrates computation, visualization, and lastly, a favorable to use environment whereby problems and solutions are mainly expressed as a common mathematical notation. Matlab is simply an interactive system that has its basic data type as an array or matrix. 

Besides that, Matlab offers several complicated facilities for displaying vectors and even matrices as graphs and also annotating and printing the built graphs. It boasts high-level functions for two-dimensional and also three-dimensional data visualization, image processing, animation, and, lastly, presentation of graphics. Again, there are two major methods that you can use when you want to build graphs in Matlab. The first option that you can make use of is using the Matlab GUI plotting tools to interactively build graphs, or you can also use the command interface through Matlab graphics commands present in the command window. 


After reading this article, it’s right to say that MATLAB is a high language and also an interactive environment for several activities such as numerical computation, visualization, and even programming. Just to go further, you can use MATLAB to perform several activities such as analyzing data, developing algorithms, and even creating models and applications. Besides that, the language tools and also built-in math functions are very helpful whenever you are in need of exploring several approaches and also helps you in arriving at a solution faster as compared to the use of spreadsheets or even through the use of other traditional languages such as C, C++ or even Java. 


Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.