Monday, March 25, 2013

Larry Wall: 5 Programming Languages Everyone Should Know


Back then it would have been: Fortran, COBOL, Basic, LISP, APL.



  • If only to know if you should click the button that says to Enable Javascript


  • The elephant in the room
  • The COBOL of the 21st century
  • heavyweight, verbose, everyone loves to hate it
  • Managers love it because it looks like you're getting a lot done... 
    • 100 lines of Java vs 5 lines in another language
    • You can eat a 1 pound steak or 100 pounds of shoe leather - and feel a greater sense of accomplishment after the shoe leather but... maybe there's some downsides
  • Considered industrial, programmers are considered interchangeable... parts.
    • Managers like it for that reason and for that reason a lot of Java jobs have been outsourced


  • Functional... not as in other languages are dysfunctional
  • A language for geniuses by geniuses
  • Should know about it if only to be able to say "is this kind of like Haskell?" if so, you know you need to hire some really smart people to program in it
    • A modern LISP in that sense
  • Continues to be a fundamental language - if only because everyone is trying to reinvent it but not succeeding
Scripting language - Python, Ruby, PERL
  • Liveliest community
  • Redesigning to leapfrog other languages, removing warts
  • One chance to breaking backward compatibility, break things that need breaking, keep it a joy to use, useful/enjoyable for decades
  • I'd recommend PERL - but I'm known to be prejudiced in the matter