11 Replies to “Polyglot”

  1. At last count I was fluent in about 18 languages and scripts. The advantage over my career was that I never felt tied down to just one model. If a project required the use of something new, having a wide base of existing languages helped me to learn the new one more quickly. It also helped me to do a lot of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, swiping functions and concepts from other languages when we came up short.

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    1. By your definition, I am a polyglot programmer, and I see no downsides. Having a selection of tools at one’s command means using the appropriate language for the problem you are solving (I like Java for large scale applications in the cloud, but I’m not going to use it for command line tools or automation scripts). I also think this applies to persistence technologies – being comfortable with SQL, NoSQL and graph databases means you can use the right tool for the job.

    2. Hm, well, I think until node, in practice, most projects of necessity used at least a few languages–build tool, database, application. For web apps, the app typically divided out to browser, server being different languages, too. Not sure how I feel about node using js for build, server, client and then in some instances even db, like mongo.

    3. So an honest question to a self identified polyglot: how honestly do you assess and choose versus admitting some bias, large or small, towards tools you still prefer for non-objective reasons?

    4. This was good fodder for thinking while driving across Illinois :-). If I am being honest, the trap I occasionally fall into is prejudice _against_ a specific technology because there is an aspect of it that I dislike for personal reasons. Python is a good example of this – I loathed it for using whitespace as a delimiter (I spent enough time in the dark ages with Cobol and Fortran that I felt a modern language caring about it instead of using actual delimiter characters was just f’ed up), and for some reason Guido just rubbed me the wrong way). It took a long time for me to get over myself on that one.

    5. But for the most part my technology decisions are pragmatic and objective. In part because my mentors when I was getting started advised me to not focus on learning how to do things with a specific language, instead understanding how things work so you can do them in whatever language or environment was appropriate.

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