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Showing posts from December, 2010

Mutability Considered (Somewhat) Harmful

We recently had a coffee-room discussion on the futility of trying to introduce new relevant programming languages. Computer scientists seem to invent new programming languages on a daily basis - it's an important contribution to conceptual research in computer science and having at least one language to one's name seems to be important for bragging rights in certain circles. However for a programming language to become practically relevant is extremely rare. We can make the somewhat flippant educated guess, that since the dawn of commercial computer use in the 1960ies, there have been about 5 major commercially successful languages: FORTRAN, COBOL, C, C++ and Java - roughly about 1-2 per decade. Certainly, there have been many other vendor and/or domain specific languages over the years or others with a significant popularity, just not enough to make it into the all-time A-list. There are multiple surveys which try to measure which are currently the most popular programmin