Sunday, July 23, 2017

Programming Languages

Why are some programming languages more popular than others? The number one reason is libraries. If you are going to be building something for the iPhone, you would have used Objective-C and now Swift because they are supported the tools on that platform. If you are doing Microsoft development, you will probably have a similar preference for C#, because that's where the libraries needed to connect to various applications live. Python is successful in data science, because it has a great set of libraries for numerical analysis which have formed the basis for more complex. Ruby became quite popular because of the Rails framework. Java has a number of open source projects that have kept it alive, things like Lucene and Hadoop, so we can blame Doug Cutting for its continued existence (in addition to a virtual machine that supports a number of platforms). And, of course, we are all stuck with JavaScript because it is the only thing that runs in the web browsers- despite the numerous and ever changing set of libraries that JS developers have been rapidly moving through over the past five years.

 You'll notice that what is largely missing here are any features of the language, whether a language is functional or object-oriented, dynamic or compiled. In the post-modern programming world where things are built from other blocks, these kinds of features of the language tend to be dwarfed in importance, because the average enterprise project includes more code written elsewhere than it does code written specifically for the project.