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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 totally different method, not yet one more variation on the identical (C-)theme. It is doable that I missed out on one thing, but it surely appears to me that the very last thing was practical programming and cellular app improvement, and a few programming language having a go at quantum computing. And that was 5 years in the past…

May the pandemic have one thing to do with it? Positive, in our trade we had been fortunate sufficient that we might proceed to work at home, so we should not complain concerning the lack of shiny new programming languages. However might 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 not likely work for casual discussions that generate new concepts.

Decline Since 2014

But when the pandemic has one thing to do with it, then we must 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 take a look at the Wikipedia web page itemizing an important programming languages ​​sorted by the 12 months they had been first printed exhibits 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 nicely doable that this Wikipedia web page is not solely appropriate for the latest years. In any case, it takes some time earlier than it turns into clear whether or not a programming language is “essential” sufficient to be listed on the web page or not. Alternatively, the web page consists of programming languages ​​like LOLCODE, which can be essential simply by its very existence, however in all probability is not the primary one you point out in your resume while you’re searching for a job. However my basic 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Study an Outdated Programming Language!

This is one other factor that confirms my impression: take a look on the record of programming languages ​​being really helpful to study in 2021 and 2022. The lists are filled with outdated programming languages! Swift is normally the latest one, and it was printed in… 2014 — eight years in the past. In case you examine the lists for 2021 and 2022 with the lists from 2015, you may discover they’re nearly equivalent, 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 help 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 rationale for that’s that Kotlin has some options and ideas that strongly attraction to some Java builders. However while you take 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 be able to construct and construction programming languages. You may swap between curly braces, key phrases and indentation to delimit blocks, you possibly can go for robust or weak typing, or possibly invent a barely smoother approach to deal with lambda expressions. However the fundamentals keep the identical.

Perhaps Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has been one of the vital fascinating ideas of the previous couple of years. However Terraform in all probability 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 improvement of a variety of new libraries, however not so many new programming languages. Perhaps we simply have to attend for the large breakthrough of quantum computing to see a stream of latest programming languages?

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

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