Journal of Information Technology

Document Type

Research Article


The impact of a particular computer language on the process of developing an information system is not well understood. This paper explores the issues through interviews with 16 software developers who changed, or considered changing, from a third to a fourth generation computer language. The conclusion is that there can be considerable costs in hardware, inflexibility and project planning errors incurred by changing to a fourth generation language. The benefits are unlikely to compensate for the costs of changing languages. The key factors influencing the productivity of software developers emerged as social, not technical.