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Posts Tagged ‘software’

do we need yet another programming language?

It’s a rhetorical question in the title, of course but it’s not rhetorical in the sense that I know the answer to it, rather, it’s the opposite. 

This post is my delayed reaction to Apple’s recent release of Swift, a new corporate backed programming language that seeks to make programming for OS X and iOS easier and more accessible to newbies throuhg more consistent syntax. 

Of course Objective C is old and weird and what not, but still, I can’t help but wonder whether yet another programming language is really what is needed today given the plethora of programming languages we’re already swamped in. 

Swift may be a conceptually beautiful language and what not, but so was Java, supposedly, when it was first introduced. Then it evolved, accumulating features atop features and got kind of ugly and verbose. But I digress. 

Perhaps it’s silly but I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be really nice if there was just one programming language supported across all platforms and acrhitectures and if it was the only language you had to learn if you wanted to get into programming. It would probably have to be a lisp – homoiconic and highly extensible as it would have to be a Jack of all trades. 

And as for Swift, from the bits and pieces I read about it on the Internet it sounds very nice and all, however, it does feel like an attempt by Apple to tie down developers, sort of. Swift is bound to be more fun to code in than Java, because Java is old and bloated and Swift is new and hip. 

Should perhaps Google have gone with their own custom designed language when they rolled out Android? Although, they were probably using a different strategy, hoping to lure existing Java developers to the Android platform in which they seem to have succeeded nicely so far, despite the fact that from my own experience Android is a major pain in the ass to write native apps for. I have no experience with XCode but I assume it can’t possibly be worse than the mess that is Android SDK that looks like it’s been thrown together by a bunch of nihilist undergrads to get a credit.

Whatever, at the end of the day, the more programming languages the merrier, although it also means you end up with more mess all around than you could ever have thought possible. 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

build your own hardware

There’s a famous quote attributed to Alan Kay and often repeated by none other than the black turtle neck god himself, Steve Jobs, that really good software developers will eventually want to build their own hardware to make sure their software runs just right. Bill Gates once said he’s always been able to resist that, but there may actually be a point to it. Sometimes it makes sense to offer products that combine software and hardware.

What it got me thinking about is Smalltalk. Earlier I wrote about how best technologies often lose out to their pop culture counterparts, well Smalltalk is definitely a very good and solid software technology that’s been a major source of inspiration for the main stream but which has remained largely ignored by the main stream throughout its history. Today all of the most prominent Smalltalk vendors are software companies, Cincom, Instantiations etc, but what if they were to roll out a Smalltalk gadget, preferably something mobile with a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard, a next generation dynabook with Smalltalk as its operating system. Sure the competition in this market is fierce but then again Smalltalk potentially could offer things all those I-Phoners out there can only dream about and it would be a major boost to the language too.

Add to that a Seaside based online app store,  after all Smalltalk is easier to develop in than Objective C, you get all the power of objects but without having to use all that outdated, assembly like, C boilerplate code.  And no need for a special IDE, it’s all already there at your fingertips.  Give it a snappy name like the Heretic (a pun on Seaside’s heretic approach to doing web apps), get it manufactured in large numbers in China and make it cheaper than the competition.

I wonder if that could work.

Categories: IT Tags: , , , ,