CodeMesh 2014 – Andreas Stefik – The Programming Language Wars

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The Programming Language Wars

The discipline of computer science has a long and complicated history with computer programming languages. Historically, inventors have created language products for a wide variety of reasons, from attempts at making domain specific tasks easier, to technical achievements, to economic, social, or political reasons. As a consequence, the modern programming language industry now has a large variety of incompatible programming languages, each of which with unique syntax, semantics, toolsets, and often their own standard libraries, lifetimes, and costs. In this talk, I will discuss the programming language wars, a term which describes the broad divergence of language designs, their impact on the world, and the communities that support them.

Talk objectives: The goal of this talk is to discuss the programming language wars. We will talk about the potential causes, the communities involved, and a variety of questions people might have about them. We will wrap ideas concerning the language wars in the context of the latest rigorous, peer-reviewed, research on how competing language designs impact developers at various skill levels. Finally, we will discuss responsibilities for the community that, if followed, may help us make progress over the next century on one of the most vexing and difficult problems in all of computer science.

Target audience: Anyone that is a stakeholder in the language wars. This includes a wide variety of people (e.g., students, professional developers, academics, development managers).

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Posted on November 13, 2014