[FoRK] Popularity of Programming Languages

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Thu Aug 5 20:23:49 PDT 2004

Adam L Beberg wrote:

> 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 ;)
I used to do that - then  I started competing directly against those 
Indians you harp on. No time for painful task switching when you 
actually have to be ten times as productive as the competition - day in, 
day out. Perhaps thats all about marketing - competing on the lowest 
common denominator  - what someone I know referred to as that "LAMP 
crap" - may not have been the best idea.
The problem is that even if you code at ten times the rate, you can't 
deal with customer requirements at ten times the rate, you can't install 
libraries/compilers/etc at ten times the rate, you can't write 
documentation at ten times the rate.   Well - maybe you can - but its 
not something the uber-hackers think about. Dealing with customers is 
the biggest time sink of all.

And in a large corporation - there is no uber-hacker alive that cannot 
be turned into a drone by suitably incompetent managers. Which means 
that having an uber-hacker in your corporation is really only a minor 
part of success.


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