[FoRK] Popularity of Programming Languages

Adam L Beberg beberg at mithral.com
Thu Aug 5 19:38:37 PDT 2004

On Aug 5, 2004, at 8:29 PM, Justin Mason wrote:

> Owen Byrne writes:
>> Interpreted languages are the way to go for the simple reason that
>> programmer time - more now than ever - is a scarce resource.
> Yep: the speed of development (programmer time) is more important
> now than the speed of the resulting code.
> Also, CPUs are fast, and OS-level interactions (in other words, system
> calls) are what causes the majority of slowness in modern code, if you 
> ask
> me.  Whether those system calls are made from perl, C or java is
> immaterial; what's more important is knowing how to avoid the *really*
> slow ones!

Programmer time has never been scarce, programmer time with the 10% of 
your employees that do 90% of the work is. That's true of anything from 
programming to poetry.

Lets see, I'm using C#/.NET with JScript (think LISP macro's, MS 
actually got this one right), C/C++, PHP, SQL, and of course some ObjC 
all on a daily basis [and yes the task switching is painful]. All of 
them have strong and weak points, but I cant say I like any one more 
then another. I would never have any trouble telling when to use each 
one tho. C is not for the web, and no PHP in the kernel. I coupld 
prototype in Cocoa in 1/10 the time I could prototype any other place, 
but MS has done a really good copy job of the NeXTStep devel tools so 
now it's not a big difference, only took them 15 years ;)

But This is one of those "It's the libraries stupid" deals. A web 
browser is one line in Cocoa, an XML parser is one line in most 
languauges, etc. PHP is so nice not so much because it's high level, 
but because everyone already wrote all the libraries you need. C has 
always had undocumented or more often misdocumented libraries, always 
has always will, so it will always be a PITA for many things. But then 
FORTRAN is still very very common because it's the best tool for 
hardcore number crunching, and all the math libs are written in... 
guess what.

>> .NET is all about customer lock-in - and customers are staying away in
>> droves.
> Plus, most projects I've worked on (or talked to people who've done so)
> recently, would not do anything as stupid as lock their customers down
> to one platform if they can avoid it.  Even when Linux is discounted, 
> an
> increasing number of the leading edge (including the people you'd have 
> to
> sell to) are using MacOS X.  Right now it looks like MS has lost that
> race.

*ahem* Mono. So yes, free as in "profit margin" Linux is the future.

- Adam L. Beberg - beberg at mithral.com

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