[arch-projects] Why do we choose the programming languages that we do?

Dusty Phillips buchuki at gmail.com
Mon Mar 21 12:45:33 EST 2005

This is a weird-ass philosophical post. I'm sick and bored right now
and my eyes hurt too much to look at the monitor, but I need something
to do (*watches fingers typing...*).

I was just wondering why programmers choose the languages they
choose... and why there is so much zealotry in this area. I mean,
naturally, some languages are better suited to certain applications
than others. But over all, I think we tend to choose a language more
for aesthetic value than how useful it is!  And aesthetics all depend
on the user.

Take scripting languages. For some reason, I haven't been able to get
the hang of Python. I think its a great language and I can code in it
(who can't!?), but I don't find it really fun or enjoyable. On the
other hand, I find coding in Groovy to be a great joy. Perl gives me
the greatest of headaches, I can't stand scripting in it, I avoid it
at all costs. I haven't tried Ruby, so I can't compare.

There are numerous other scripting languages. They are all designed
for more or less the same tasks (arguable, yes). You can code the same
scripts in Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, Lua, Groovy, etc with
approximately equal results. Yet if asked to code a particular generic
problem, each of us would choose a different language!  I guess when
it comes down to it, it all depends what you *like* to code in.

Its a lot like music. When I was a kid, I played piano for a few
years. I wasn't very good at it, and I didn't enjoy it all that much.
Then one day I picked up a guitar and a teach yourself book... I
enjoyed it. I guess some people are piano people and some people are
guitar people and some people are clarinet people...

This is the only explanation I can come up with, thoughts? Also, I'd
really like to have an explanation for the language nazism that goes
on all the time. I can't understand that one at all. ;-)


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