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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 completely totally different method, not yet one more variation on the identical (C-)theme. It is doable that I missed out on one thing, nevertheless it appears to me that the very last thing was useful 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 trade we had been fortunate sufficient that we might proceed to make money working from home, so we should not complain in regards to the lack of shiny new programming languages. However might or not it’s that working from dwelling killed a number 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. Nonetheless, a fast take a look at the Wikipedia web page itemizing an important programming languages ​​sorted by the 12 months they had been first printed 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 is very effectively doable that this Wikipedia web page is not fully appropriate 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. However, the web page consists of 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 if you’re in search of a job. However my common impression is confirmed by the tendencies within the chart above: there are far fewer programming languages ​​being printed now in comparison with the early 2000’s.

Study an Previous Programming Language!

Here is one other factor that confirms my impression: take a look on the checklist of programming languages ​​being really helpful to be taught in 2021 and 2022. The lists are filled with previous programming languages! Swift is often the newest one, and it was printed in… 2014 — eight years in the past. Should you examine the lists for 2021 and 2022 with the lists from 2015, you may discover they’re virtually an identical, excluding Swift having changed Goal-C.

Do We Want New Programming Languages?

Possibly the actual query is whether or not we want 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 aspect, and has began to problem the place of Java. The explanation for that’s that Kotlin has some options and ideas that strongly enchantment to some Java builders. However if you take a look at the transition from on-prem to the cloud, you discover that we managed that simply effective utilizing the already established programming languages.

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

Possibly Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has been one of the crucial attention-grabbing ideas of the previous couple of years. However Terraform most likely would 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 stream, have resulted within the growth of a variety of new libraries, however not so many new programming languages. Possibly we simply have to attend for the large breakthrough of quantum computing to see a stream of recent programming languages?

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

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