Daniel Roy Greenfeld

Daniel Roy Greenfeld

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What is a real language?

This was originally posted on blogger here.

I remember back in my Java days I thought it was cool I was doing a 'real language'. That meant it used semi-colons to close statements, had static typing, was compiled, and could do pretty much anything. Unfortunately, I was also unhappy with hunting down semi-colons, found static typing to be annoying, and found the compile phase to be dull.

I drifted back into scripting languages then, and was ashamed for a bit. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I heard this phrase: 'Language x is a scripting language' as 'Language x is just a scripting language'.

Of course, I could throw back that I was much more productive in a scripting language, or that my code was smaller, meaner, and easier to read. But deep inside I felt guilty that the scripting languages I was using weren't 'real languages', but rather just scripting languages. It was a classic demonstration of how emotion can triumph reason.

It was frustrating because there were things I am easily doing in Python that are really hard in Java. Ever put together a quickie script to read a text file and then use that data to generate critical responses? Or write a hundred views in a month? Doing either in Java is painful, but in Python its a snap. So my gut and instinct told me that I was right to back my intellect, but sometimes I felt like I had stepped backwards.

It look me a long time to get over that self-inflicted stigmata, but I think its gone now. Why?

Because I suppose time heals all wounds.

Tags: python java legacy-blogger