Lose patience with each year for irrational, religious arguments over which programming languages are better than which.
“In programming language (PL) research, we like to write up fancy evaluation rules containing lots of Greek letters. Unfortunately, these rules tend to be inscrutable to anyone who isn’t a PL researcher. Even for PL researchers, there is something unsatisfying about seeing a bunch of rules on a piece of paper.”
The more programming languages I learn, the more enjoyable I find learning and reading about them. In that vein, Mac Slocum at O’Reilly Radar provides me another reason for regretting being unable to afford to fly out to OSCON. He has an extremely effective tease for an event there, Emerging Languages Camp. The post is a micro-interview with Alex Payne who is organizing the camp.
Alex Payne: The headliner that everyone’s been talking about is concurrency. We have a handful of languages on the Camp roster that exist largely to address concurrency problems. Solutions could involve allowing people to spread computations over multiple physical machines in a pretty transparent way, or by providing different single-machine or single-virtual-machine concurrency paradigms. It’s an interesting problem. There’s a lot of conflicting takes on how relevant it is.
Payne also gives the nod to the perennial favorite driver for new language development, ease of maintenance, primarily through making code more readable. I love how Mac framed that first question, too, evoking language invention as a form of higher order hacking on problem spaces.
Payne teases some of the languages that will be discussed. Even if not all of them are immediately practical, the experience of learning about them and the inevitable comparison and contrast will no doubt be very insightful for a good variety of every day aspects of programming.