Programming languages, then and now

Some entertainment: This article at American Scientist talks about programming language choice and the arguments that have come up over the years. The bibliography at the end of this 5-page essay is worth special attention, because of the links to early documents describing these battles over languages and choices nobody thinks of these days, like PL/I or Cobol.

Some specific links to articles cited:

All the citations are worth investigating – take some time to read them.

4 Replies to “Programming languages, then and now”

  1. While Visual Basic will probably be the Cobol of the next and past decades, I’ve been trying to figure out what will go down as the least-loved idea among the contenders for ‘portable applications’ :


    Silverlight + .NET

    Borderless browsers (Specifically the Mozilla Foundation’s idea to compete with the above by promoting the entire Mozilla engine du jour + AJAX + plugins including Silverlight, Java, and the usual Adobe suspects as a ‘technology’ unto itself.)

    … These ‘lightweight runtimes’ just keep getting heavier, don’t they?

    [This was supposed to be funny, except it’s not for anyone who has to work with them. Please provide patches for my comedy.]

  2. There is only one true programming language, everything else is cruft and syntax.

  3. There is no more possible a universal programming language then there is a universal human language that fits the various fields of knowledge. Where in fact the limitation of one language can be overcome or gotten around in another.
    Math and the decimal system is the most universal language as a matter of accounting. And although math can be used to describe a metaphor, it loses the color of “foot of the hill” creativity possible of abstractions.

    Languages are tools for the transference and manipulation of information.
    But it is not language specifics that are universal, but the underlying gears and bearing that enable the existance and use of languages.

    From a programming perspective, what difference does it really make, which languages you use to create your desired “automation”? So long as you reach it within any additional constraints your goal needs to fit, such as time, space (memory constraints) and intended user accessibility.

    What is missing from the programming languages catalog and even the human language catalog is a recognition of these undeniable and unavoidable action constants that must be used in creating and using languages.

    Abstraction Physics – the natural physical action constants in a configuration providing unlimited versatility and exception handling (as exception is a constant).

    Why my interest in DragonFly? Because it’s being developed to provide the third of three primary user interfaces, along with the first two, from ground up. Matt takes from the Amiga this third user interface, into DragonFly. The side door messaging port. Where with a consistent, easy to use, and logical user interface, the user, including developers, can do a lot more in automating development.


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