The Least Liked Programming Languages

StackOverflow’s 2020 developer survey included a table demonstrating the ” most loved, dreaded, and wanted words .” Loved and missed lingos are, well, sort of boring. The programming language we dread are a lot more interesting. As Tolstoy said, “All happy kinfolks are alike; each miserable kinfolk is miserable in its own way.”

So what are these unhappy, unloved speeches, and why do programmers dread using them? Given the chance it’s, well, hard to resist leap in with some hypothesis, and perhaps even saying something impolitic. Or defending some communications that are abhorred for the wrong reasons.

More precise, StackOverflow tabulated the “% of makes who are developing with the language or engineering but have not expressed interest in continuing to do so .” That doesn’t sound quite as dire as “dreaded”; ” not conveying an interest in working with a language again” is a rather vague indication of dismay. There are lots of things I’ve done that I’d preferably not do again, including writing troff macros that spawned shell dialogues. But we won’t worry about that, will we?

The list of least liked conversations is similar to the lists of the most widely used usages, as indicated by Redmonk, Tiobe and, for that matter, scours on O’Reilly Learning. That’s no surprise; Bjarne Stroustrup said that “there are only two kinds of speeches: the ones beings complaints about and the ones nobody uses.” And that makes a lot of sense, at least in relation to this survey. If you’ve got millions of users, it’s not hard to get a lot of people to dislike you. So reading perennials like C alongside relative outsiders like Java on the list of abhorred lingos isn’t surprising.

Kevlin Henney and I are of the view that the directory of least liked communications too manifested the opinions of programmers who were working on large and legacy activities, as to report to short-lived programs. Dislike of a language may be “guilt by association”: dislike of a large, antiquated codebase with negligible documentation, and an architectural wording in which every bug specified transgress something else. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see lingos that used to be widely used but have precipitated from notoriety on the index. And it’s also easy to fall in love with a quaint conversation that was perfect for one campaign, but that you’ll never assure again.( In my occasion, that’s Icon. Try it; you might like it. It’s not on anyone’s list .)

What’s most surprising is when a language is out of place: when it’s significantly more or less shunned than you expect. That’s what I’d like to think about. So, having disposed of the initials, here are a few watchings 😛 TAGEND

Java: Java has been the language beings love to hate since its birth. I was at the USENIX session in which James Gosling firstly spoke about Java( room before 1.0 ), and parties left the room talking about how gruesome Java was-none of whom had actually employed the language because it hadn’t been released more. Java comes in to this survey at a mild# 9. Given Java’s reputation, that 9 “shouldve been” centers all over it.If there’s one expression on this list that’s associated with giant jobs, it’s Java. And there are a lot of things to dislike about it–though a lot of them have to do with bad practices that grew up around Java, rather than the language itself. If you find yourself abusing design motifs, step back and look at what you’re doing; establishing everything into a pattern structure is evidence that you didn’t understand what motifs are really for.( If it is necessary to a refresher, go to Head First Design Patterns or the classic Gang of Four book .) If you start writing a FactoryFactoryFactory, stop and take a nice long go. If you’re writing a ClassWithAReallyLongNameBecauseThatsHowWeDoIt, you don’t need to. Java doesn’t perform you do that. Descriptive appoints are good; ridiculously long appoints( along with ridiculously deep packet hierarchies) are not. I’ve always tried to put one coherent imagined on each word of code. You can’t do that when the honours are half a line long. But that’s not Java’s fault, it’s an curious artistic quirk of Java programmers.Java is verbose, but that’s not undoubtedly a number of problems. As someone who is not a Java fan told me formerly, all those declarations at the start of a class are actually documentation, and that documentation is particularly important on large-scale projects. Once you know what the data designs are, you can make a pretty good guess what the class does. I’ve found Java easier to read and understand than most other languages, in part because it’s so explicit–and most good programmers “ve realized that” they spend more era learning others’ system than writing their own.

Ruby: I was very surprised to see Ruby as the# 7 on the inventory. Ruby more disliked than Java? What’s going on? I’ve had some fun programming in Ruby; it is, for the best part, a” do what I convey , not what I said” speech, and 15 years ago, that hope established a lot of programmers fall in love.But if we think about Ruby in the context of sizable organizations, it compiles impression. It’s not hard to write system that is ambiguous, at least to the casual see. It’s very easy to run afoul of government functions or procedure that has been “monkeypatched” to have some non-standard behavior, and those revisions are rarely substantiated. Metaprogramming has been used brilliantly in frames like Rails, but I’ve always been riled by the” And now the sorcery happens” facet of numerous Ruby libraries. These aren’t aspects that are conducive to large-scale projects.Many years ago, I discover person at a Ruby or Rails conference say ” There aren’t any big activities; everything in Ruby takes 90% fewer indications of code .” I’ve always contemplated LOC was a foolish metric. And even if you believe that Ruby makes 90% fewer wires of code( I don’t ), 10% of a big number is still a big number, peculiarly if it’s your responsibility to accept that system, including things happening behind your back. Ruby is a lot of recreation, and I still use it for immediate scripts( though I’ve primarily switched to Python for those ), but is it the language to choose for a big project? That has been possible to me running in fear.

R: R weighs in at #10 on the” dreaded inventory .” I think that’s because of a misperception. R both is, and is not, a general-purpose programming language. Several statisticians have told me” You programmers don’t get it. R is a statistics workbench , not a programming language. It’s not a weird account of Python .” I’ve toy around with R any number of epoch, but I eventually “got it”( well, at least partly) when I read through the R tutorial in Vince Buffalo’s Bioinformatics Data Skills. Loops and if proclamations are relegated to got a couple of pages at the end of the tutorial , not one of the first hypothesis you learn. Why? Because if you’re using R accurately, you don’t need them. It’s designed so you don’t have to use them. If you come from a more traditional language, you may find yourself fighting against the language , not working with it. There are better approaches to provisional logic and iteration.It too helps to use the best implements and libraries accessible: RStudio is a really nice integrated development environment for R, and the Tidyverse is a great determined of libraries for working with data. Ironically, that may even be part of the problem: with excellent graphics libraries and entanglement frameworks, R unexpectedly glances a lot less like a specialized statistics workbench, and more like a general-purpose workhorse.Lots of programmers seem to be taking another look at R-perhaps to analyze COVID data? R climbed from #20 on the Tiobe index to# 8 in the July, 2020 report. That’s a huge change. Whatever the reason, R will be a much more pleasant environment if you work with it, rather than against it. It is very opinionated-and the beliefs are of a statistician, rather than a programmer.

Python: Python is #23 on the list–extraordinarily low for a language that’s so widely used. Python is easy to like; I could love Python just for getting rid of curly braces. But apart from that, what’s to affection? I’ve always said ” don’t opt its own language, pick the libraries ,” and Python has enormous libraries, especially for numerical act. Pandas, Numpy, Scipy, and scikit-learn are good reasons to enjoy Python, all by themselves. Boasts like index comprehensions eliminate a good deal of the bookkeeping associated with traditional restraint organizes. Python is as good for tasks that are quick and dirty as it is for bigger projects. If I want to do something with a spreadsheet, I almost always hacker at it with Python.( Me? Pivot tables ?) And implements like Jupyter make it easy to record your experimentation while you’re in the process.On the “big project” end of the scale of assessments, Python is easy to read: no eyeburn from nested curly braces or parens, and fewer levels of nesting thanks to comprehensions, maps, and other features. It has reasonable( though admittedly whimsical) object-oriented peculiarities. I’ve gone back to some of my older loopy writes, and routinely been able to write them without curves at all. If you want to put one coherent contemplated on a line, that’s the best of all possible worlds.An important slogan from” The Zen of Python” is” Explicit is better than implicit “; you’re very rarely left approximating about what someone else intended, or trying to decipher some surprising fragment of spell that “happened.” Python triumphs the gift for the most popular language to provoke negligible disfavour. It’s got a balanced located of boasts that make it ideal for small projects, and good for large ones.

JavaScript: And what shall we say about JavaScript, sixteenth on the schedule? I’ve got nothing. It’s a language that mature in a random and disease room, and that programmers eventually learned could be powerful and beneficial, predominantly due to Doug Crockford’s classic JavaScript: The Good Parts. A language that’s as widely used as JavaScript, and that’s simply 16 th on the listing of most dreaded words, is certainly doing something right. But I don’t “re going to have to” like it.

There’s bunches more that could be said. There’s no surprise that VBA is# 1 shunned speech. I’ll admit to complete ignorance on Objective C (# 2 ), which I’ve never had any reason to play with. Although I’m a Perl-hater from way back, I’m surprised that Perl is so widely despised (# 3 ), but some meanders never heal. It will be interesting to see what happens after Perl 7 has been out for a few years. Assembly (# 4) is an acquired appreciation( and isn’t a single language ). If you don’t learn to desire it, you pretty much have to hate it. And if you don’t cherish it, you really shouldn’t be using it. You can almost always eschew assembly, but when you need to work directly with the hardware, there’s no alternative. C and C ++ (# 5 and# 8, respectively) give you a lot of lasso to hang yourself, but get you as close enough to the hardware for almost any project, without the anguish of members of parliament. Are they fading into the past, or will they be with us forever? My guess is the latter; there are too many projects that demand C’s performance and ubiquity. It’s the foundation for just about everything important in modern computing.

Speculating about lingos and why they’re liked or abhorred is fun. It may or may not be useful. Take it for what it’s worth.

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