Programming languages, frameworks, and platforms require the developer to use a collection of provided programming features—abstractions—to express data, implement desired calculations, interact with other technologies, create user interfaces, and so on. A collection of coherent, often ideologically or theoretically based abstractions constitutes a programming paradigm. Often, a given programming technology is based on one particular paradigm.
Well-known examples include object-oriented, relational, functional, constraint-based, theorem-proving, concurrent, imperative, and declarative. Less well-known (or perhaps less well-defined) examples include graphical, reflective, context-aware, rule-based, and agent-oriented.
A particular paradigm leads to a specific type of implementation style and is best suited to certain types of applications. Relational programming benefits information-rich applications, whereas imperative programming is commonly used to control hardware. But today's applications are seldom homogeneous. They are frequently complex systems, made up of many subcomponents that require a mixture of technologies. Thus, using just one language technology and paradigm is becoming much less common, replaced by multiparadigm programming in which the heterogeneous application consists of several subcomponents, each implemented with an appropriate paradigm and able to communicate with other subcomponents implemented with a different paradigm. When more than one language is used, we call this polyglot ("many tongues") programming.