One of the longest running conversations between engineers is the discussion about which programming language is the best, the most perfect. After years of newsgroup threads, millions of conversations, multiple popularity indexes, the ongoing appearance new programming languages, and improvements existing programming languages, there are still only two perfect programming languages. For hardware engineers the perfect programming language is the microcode they build into the silicon. For software engineers it is the assembly language that is executed by the microcode.
The first programming language I learned in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was Fortran (in the fall of 1969). The second programming language I learned was Assembly Language (both the IBM 360 Assembly Language and Data General Nova Assembly Language) in the Winter and Spring of 1970. During the remainder of my college days I wrote programs in PL/I, COBOL, ALGOL, APL, FOCAL, BASIC, LISP, LOGO, FORTH, and Pascal. After graduation, my first full time industry job was creating real time applications using Data General Nova assembly language. After seven years of building a wide range of systems, I moved on to using a combination of assembler and higher level languages.
That said, there are a lot of great programming languages that software developers use to build awesome applications, systems, and services. For many users of a specific programming language (or multiple programming languages), the one they use the most might be perfect for certain purposes. I’ve never met a programmer who hasn’t wished for additional language features to make some aspects of development simpler. There are never ending suggestions for new language features, standards committees collaborating on improvements to programming languages, and academic/industry research and development that moves the language state-of-the-art forward.
To be honest, I am a programming language, compiler and tool chain junkie. There isn’t a programming language that I dislike (okay, maybe there are a few esoteric programming languages that I will explore but most likely never use). I love reading blog posts, newsgroup threads, academic articles, and industry articles that discuss programming languages, language features, the “best” language, etc.
Here are some of the recent articles that got me thinking about writing this blog post:
- The programming language I want by Tomek Wałkuski
- The Working Programmer’s Guide To Language Paradigms by Mike James
- What is the best programming language to learn for backend developers?
- Learn any of these 16 programming languages and you’ll always have a job by Matt Weinberger
- Top 6 Programming Languages for Mobile App Development by Calvin Austins
- If I were to invent a programming language for the 21st century by Oleksandr Kaleniuk
What’s your Perfect Programming Language?
Do you like the programming language that you use for most of your work? Do you have favorite programming language features that you wish were in all languages? Post a comment, I’m sure every developer will have an opinion or three.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation