According to the Encyclopedia of Computer Languages, people have created more than 8500 programming languages over the years.
Most of the languages have never become mainstream (read Ghost in the Machine for a list of 12 languages that couldn’t take off – I don’t agree with the Haskell part as I think that it has enormous appeal and potential especially for concurrent programming)
Now for the bigger question that I’m asked from time to time:
Q: Why are there so many programming languages?
After deep thoughts, I can now answer:
A: Because a programming language is just a medium of expression and different people express themselves differently…
A corollary might be (but I think to think more about that):
Different people express themselves in different programming languages. Students, being people (after all…), also therefore express themselves in different programming languages. Hence, programming should be taught in a programming language-independent manner in order to cater for all students…
(Edited on 13/7/2007 at 23:17 MUT)
(I guess most of you have recognized the Tower of Babel by Bruegel)
lol, i see brainfuck there! i remember last year i tried to learn that language, just to know it, ohh my god, i thought that the people who made that language were sadist and perverts or wanted to make fun of ppl. i never got to understand the hello world quick enough, so i gave up.
Am sad for delphi to be in this list, before i used to like that, (in the days i used to do pascal).
I didn’t believe coldfusion would be in this! thank god i didn’t learn that, even if the name seemt cool.
Patrick Ng says
Q: Why are there so many programming languages?
It could be because each programming language has its limitations and people developed new ones to address these limitations. Of course since a new programming language is just another language, it, too, just like the others has/will have its own limitations, which open doors for…another new programming language.
Eddy Young says
Each language solves a particular type of problem. The more choices we have, the better.
i would say, everyone wants to give the computer world a personal touch of his, and not every time there are ways that exists to make that touch possible, so comes in new languages to help those artists to add their touch to the world.
I couldn’t log to my personal email but thought you’d probably be following this debate :-)
If I’m not mistaken Avinash, that Tower of Babel painting also graces the cover of Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham ;)
“Les grands esprits se rencontrent” :-)
There are many programming languages because there are a lot of developers.
The tower of Babel is also used in a software context in by Fred Brooks, “Why Did the
Tower of Babel Fall?”
The tower fell due to the global economy
jean paul ruche CSE2B says
Georg Cantor (the one who has invented the theory of sets) –introduction to computer theory–put the dilemna that infinity comes in different sizes! my conclusion is that these sizes are asymptotic, they converges towards an axis….to be debated…
but we know that all sciences should converges (einstein, hawking) to reach a unified theory of science that would englobe all sciences —
to state someone great that said the origin of science is science
and to what is science heading….
einstein gives the analogy of a child entering a library he knows these books have not been written out of nowhere but who wrote these lies in the meanders of the unnecessary as we are at the origin and trying to understand the content first…..
so many programming languages is the history of manking heading towards perfection—- as perfection takes experience and experience is the name we give to our errors(to quote). these errors are essential and contribute to the creation of something……
few weeks ago in the radio (france inter) i heard that some 200 languages in the world is being menaced to extinction but they are talked by few (5-10) persons only.
is it acceptable? who can say…
but evolution of mankind has showed that the universe do not care of history (at least our vision of it) many marvels of the world has been faced to time and disappeared…without ‘ souvenirs’ Karl Marx has a vision of a pianist as an art that cannot be captured then came the ability to record music….
to say that what is extinct today will be recovered later. Example ,As light travels slower that time…. there are memories of our planet that can be seen in space….
many programming languages are bound to fall and has….
but the gist of it remains….all the programming languages are boiling down to something…..we are not too sure of what yet
but to something i guest……
Excellent comment by the way. May I know what kind of background you have?
@jean paul ruche: