“stuck with a multilanguage future”

At the end of a fairly predictable article where SOAP and REST supporters take cheap shots at each other, Tim Bray being one of them, Bray comes out with some pretty eye-rolling stuff:

During a keynote presentation at OSCON on Friday, Bray will talk about the “language inflection point,” in which various languages such as Perl, Python, and Ruby have been gathering momentum at the expense of the established Java and .Net platforms.

“Up until two years ago, if you were a serious programmer you wrote code in either Java or .Net,” Bray said. “[Now], there are all these options that people are looking at and it’s really an inflection point.”

I fail to see what “serious programmer” and specific languages have to do with each other, I would have thought that a “serious programmer” would pick the language best suited to the task at hand.

The Java platform is accommodating scripting languages such as Ruby and Python on the JVM, Bray noted. Sun has been enabling these to work on the Java Virtual Machine. “The Java language is not what the cool kids are choosing to use these days,” said Bray.

IMHO the “cool kids” who are really smart learn a variety of languages and keep learning new ones. They do this to increase the breadth of their knowledge and toolbox, so they don’t approach every programming problem with the same hammer.

Still, Java will stay around, he said. “The Java language isn’t going away. It’s the world’s most popular programming language,” Bray said.

I have not seen any specific figures as to how popular a specific language is, in fact how would you measure that. Lines written? Programmers using it? Users using application written in it?

“I think that like it or not, we’re stuck with a multilanguage future,” he stressed.

What’s not to like about a “multilanguage future”, we have a multilanguage present and we have had a multilanguage past, multilanguage has served us well and will continue to do so. As for being “stuck”, I am glad we were not “stuck” 30 years ago otherwise we would all be writing stuff in COBOL, or worse assembler.


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