Are the New and Alternative Programming Languages Sustainable? | TechWell

Are the New and Alternative Programming Languages Sustainable?

Dart, Go, Dog, Opa, Ceylon, D. No, this isn’t a question from an IQ test. This is just a small sample of the many new programming languages available for software developers.

There are many languages that are challenging the status quo, and they are quite varied in their goals and abilities. Each one is trying to address gaps in conventional programming languages. You may think that these obscure languages are for the true geeks of the programming world—and you would be wrong. Even Google is trying to build a legacy in programming languages with its Dart language.

It seems creating new languages is a competitive business. Microsoft is at it as well with its latest Typescript language, which aims to be a meta-set language for JavaScript based on the emerging next version of JavaScript. Typescript seems to be more grounded than Google’s Dart, but that is for more expert programmers to decide.

Opa language is another beautiful open-source concept used to make web development truly seamless. Why have three languages when you only need one? This one seems to be for universities and startups to explore. I can’t imagine a mature IT organization adopting it for one of their new projects, but this one could be a slow burner.

The development world needs to be careful not to dilute the pool of knowledge workers in a particular language by creating so much fragmentation in programming languages that it is difficult to hire people. This is an on-going debate, and only time will tell. Google is helping to create these languages like their other language development program—Go.

There is an adage in business that says “There may be a niche in the market but is there a market in the niche?” This probably holds true for this new trend for niche programming languages. The protagonists say there are niches in the market for languages to cover gaps that aren’t well served by traditional languages.

Google made its money not because it was the first search engine but because it seemed to be better than the existing Yahoo search engine. Innovation usually happens by making existing technology better. The creators of Bandicoot, a new language that aims to be better than SQL, have seen an opportunity to make using databases more productive.


Finally, take a look at Supernova by Mahmoud Fayad from Egypt. This interesting language allows novice or expert programmers to create applications using what I would describe as real language or as close to real language as possible. It allows people to write code in their own verbal language and does not require learning English to write code. Fantastic.

It is unlikely you will drop your current language that pays the bills, but it might be worth your time to investigate a new language or two. This begs the question: How many developers using a programming language make it sustainable and therefore more than a niche product?

Have you tried any new languages? Let us know in the comments below.

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