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Why Are There So Few New Programming Languages? | by Filip Van Laenen | Compendium | Nov, 2022

When was the final time you heard a couple of new programming language? And by that I imply a programming language that introduces some new ideas or tries to do issues in a very completely different manner, not yet one more variation on the identical (C-)theme. It is potential that I missed out on one thing, nevertheless it appears to me that the very last thing was purposeful programming and cellular app growth, and a few programming language having a go at quantum computing. And that was 5 years in the past…

Might the pandemic have one thing to do with it? Positive, in our business we had been fortunate sufficient that we might proceed to do business from home, so we should not complain in regards to the lack of shiny new programming languages. However might it’s that working from residence killed a few of the creativity and the inspiration coming from discussions across the water cooler or the espresso machine? Video conferences do probably not work for casual discussions that generate new concepts.

Decline Since 2014

But when the pandemic has one thing to do with it, then we should always have seen new programming languages ​​nonetheless popping up proper till the start of 2020, and a few of them ought to have been prepared for bigger adoption by now. Nevertheless, a fast have a look at the Wikipedia web page itemizing crucial programming languages ​​sorted by the 12 months they had been first revealed reveals that issues already began to decelerate round 2014.

Variety of new programming languages ​​per 12 months. Supply: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_programming_languages

In fact, it’s extremely effectively potential that this Wikipedia web page is not solely right for the newest years. In spite of everything, it takes some time earlier than it turns into clear whether or not a programming language is “necessary” sufficient to be listed on the web page or not. Then again, the web page contains programming languages ​​like LOLCODE, which can be necessary simply by its very existence, however most likely is not the primary one you point out in your resume whenever you’re in search of a job. However my basic impression is confirmed by the tendencies within the chart above: there are far fewer programming languages ​​being revealed now in comparison with the early 2000’s.

Be taught an Outdated Programming Language!

This is one other factor that confirms my impression: take a look on the listing of programming languages ​​being really helpful to be taught in 2021 and 2022. The lists are filled with previous programming languages! Swift is normally the newest one, and it was revealed in… 2014 — eight years in the past. If you happen to evaluate the lists for 2021 and 2022 with the lists from 2015, you may discover they’re nearly similar, apart from Swift having changed Goal-C.

Do We Want New Programming Languages?

Perhaps the true query is whether or not we’d like new programming languages ​​in any respect. Kotlin and Swift had been created to assist the event of native cellular apps. Since then, Kotlin has made it over to the server facet, and has began to problem the place of Java. The explanation for that’s that Kotlin has some options and ideas that strongly attraction to some Java builders. However whenever you have a look at the transition from on-prem to the cloud, you discover that we managed that simply fantastic utilizing the already established programming languages.

With out new ideas, there is a restrict to the variety of methods in which you’ll construct and construction programming languages. You’ll be able to change between curly braces, key phrases and indentation to delimit blocks, you possibly can go for sturdy or weak typing, or perhaps invent a barely smoother technique to deal with lambda expressions. However the fundamentals keep the identical.

Perhaps Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has been probably the most fascinating ideas of the previous few years. However Terraform most likely does not actually fall into the class of programming languages ​​anyway, and along with that, it makes use of YAML as its foundation. Different new ideas, like blockchain, machine studying and information circulation, have resulted within the growth of numerous new libraries, however not so many new programming languages. Perhaps we simply have to attend for the massive breakthrough of quantum computing to see a circulation of recent programming languages?

This text was initially revealed at kode24 i Norwegian underneath the title “– Hvorfor kommer det ingen nye programmersspråk?”.

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