Discussion on: Are CSS and HTML programming languages?

johncip profile image

Sure. But they only allow declarative programming, and within specific domains. TeX & SQL are similarly restricted. And like (the combination of) CSS & HTML, they're technically Turing-complete but impractical outside of their intended purpose.

Other languages are general-purpose. To what extent is hard to quantify, and arguably none are purely so, but if you can code an OS in it (C, Java), you're likely at that end of the spectrum. (But no language is an island. C programs typically lean on OS behavior. Machine code targets an ISA. We're all sharecropping.)

Many sit in the middle: PostScript, Prolog, Max/MSP, and others are powerful while still intended for use in a specific domain.

Note that domain-specificity and power aren't necessarily linked. Languages like PHP, ASP, and Elm are more expressive than e.g. PostScript, but still specifically designed for building web apps.