If you’ve written any kind of script, batch statement, or programming expression, even once, then you’re probably familiar with the term “language”. As in “programming language”. As if humans aren’t already challenged enough with biological languages, we felt the need to invent more of them. Like adding yet another stuffy nose to the side of our head to go with our already-stuffy nose.
Yes. We felt that we had to get drunk, pass out, hit our heads on a steel railing, fall over the balcony and land on a concrete surface covered in nails and broken glass, roll over into the path of a speeding truck, and then get up, punch ourselves in the face a few times, and then proclaim we needed to invent yet more languages to learn. We are masochists in the truest sense.
We could have tried to make it lingual in nature. We didn’t. We could have made it literary in syntax and form. We didn’t. We could have made it follow at least the general principles of human dialectical communication and noun-verb-adjectival form. Nope. We didn’t even try to make it mimic the communication skills of an epileptic squirrel stuck in a wood chipper.
We just swallowed whatever was in that dirty cup, crushed it boldly, threw it to the side, and started hacking with a serious expression on our face. Probably saying “F### it. I’m making my OWN language, beyoch.” Moms everywhere dropped their Twinkees, grabbed their precious children and ran for cover from these heathen pirates.
So, after roughly 40-45 years of de-evolutionary programming language hallucinations, what have we got to show for it? A bunch of programming languages. And while someone will always say “well, we do deprecate some in favor of newer ones“, I dare anyone to use “deprecate” while ordering food somewhere. Net gain is zero.
We add new ones every few years, while claiming to drop (okay, okay, deprecate!) some older ones along the way. But those old programs never die, do they? Someone wins a contract to maintain them. Maybe even replace them. But that cycle will repeat in another ten years anyway.
So, you stick two programmers in a room. They will wear themselves out over details of the last (or next) Walking Dead episode, the latest PS4 or XBox game, next smartphone, or Thai restaurant. Then?
The conversation always rears its stupid head whenever two or more programmers are in close proximity. One will eventually start reminiscing about their favorite programming language. Imagine if that were bio-languages, and we lounged around saying things like “I sure miss French. Remember when we all used to speak Latvian? Man, those were good times.”
It seems like the language barn started filling up around the mid to late 1980’s. From C and COBOL we watered the field and up sprang new goodies. And others came wandering in from the surround forests to graze upon the pastures of corporate and government funding troughs. LISP, Scheme, Algol, C++, you name it. Then the government decided to pull up its K-mart boots and do their best John Wayne impression by saying, “Alright, you pilgrims, you’re going to get in line and standardize on ONE language. And that language is going to be Ada.” And everyone crapped their pants.
It was a noble idea, if you were on drugs that is. Like the effort to spawn the language Esperanto, I think. It’s been awhile. The idea that you can coerce humans to all follow one rule or one “way” is good enough for a chuckle. To think of forcing them into neat little school lines is tragically absurd. The evidence is already in: The only way to make humans do something one way is to make them think it’s in fashion. That’s why most bikers wear the same crap and decorate their bikes the same way. It’s the American individualist ideal. The same holds up for programming.
We should know by now that die-hard programmers aren’t exactly “normal” by convention terms. Dress code. Dietary habits. Transportation preferences. Music. Art. TV and online “shows”, etc. Let’s face it, if you really like spending time with a computer, you’re not like those that only toy with it occasionally. So, sit up, get your piercings, tattoos, and worn-out clothes so you can be different from the other programmers. Sorry, I’m being cynical again. Back to the storyline…
So, what is the best programming language? You.