Good Programming Language

In the previous post, I mentioned the thought of picking the best programming language for the job. The process for deciding one is q daunting and difficult task. Researchers at MIT have developed a ‘Language Evaluation Criteria’. They propose the 4 main characteristics for switching over to a new language. They are readability, writeabilltiy, reliability, and cost. I attempt to explain each below.

Readability, the biggest of the four for me. It is important but ultimately it will save a lot of time and money down the line (think maintenance) Before the 1970’s, languages were designed for computers in mind, not programmers. While it was close to the machine, it did not do a good job communicating to the writer as a language in the literal sense. In the early 1980’s, language designers began making strides in this direction. A language is considered readable if it prospers in simplicity, orthogonality, syntax design, and data type design.

Simplicity is crucial because it makes it easier for programmers to pick up the language. The fewer constructs the simpler it is in general. Othorganility is all about using primitive features to construct advanced ones. Data types of programming languages need to be intuitive as possible. An example below:

time_out = 1 ; vs time_out = false;

While they both convey the same meaning, the data type on the right is much more clear to the user.

To Be Continued. Part 2 and 3 will be up shortly. 🙂

 

Thomas Nguyen

 

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