Tuesday, October 07, 2003

The Language Religious War Debate

OK, so I post about Paul Graham's "Java Cover" article (which I still think is a good read) and it turns into a language war in some other places. You can read the whole discussions here and here. One thing that I love about Paul Graham's writing is that he believes in Lisp 100%. This might offend a lot of people especially if you happen to be on the receiving end of his argument (ala Java in this article). But, I find it refreshing. I don't agree with a lot of what Graham says (I still believe Smalltalk is a better language and OO is not just syntactic sugar coated poo), but he always gets me to think. When someone is pressing your buttons in an article, you need to sit up and think about WHY ARE YOU GETTING UPSET? Paul has a confrontational style of writing that makes you question why you believe what you do because he says what he does with such conviction and vigor. But, let's face it. There's no empirical evidence that Lisp is better than any other language. Same goes for Smalltalk or any other language or programming paradigm. I think that's why most discussions on the pros and cons of languages turn into religious wars. Programming is a human effort and we each pick up a language based on our past experiences and what we are most effective with. Why can't we just realize that no language or way is universal and applicable to everyone?! Smalltalk jives with me better than any other language I've come across yet. Does that mean I should stop searching for that magical uber cool language? NO! I play around a lot with other languages including Lisp, Ruby, Erlang, Javascript, and whatever else tickles my fancy. I always say I'm in search of my favorite language. Will Smalltalk be my fave language 10 years from now? Maybe, maybe not I don't know...I just know I'm more effective with it and it allows me to express MY IDEAS better RIGHT NOW. I think everyone needs to find their M(IND AMP and be happy with it. Who cares if someone's else MIND AMP is Java? More power to them, I say! It doesn't make them any brighter or dumber (one area where I disagree with Mr. Graham). I think developers should group together and pick their own tools that they are effective with as a team. Well, I've written too much, but this is how I felt...I'll close with: Pick the language that gives you the most strength and don't worry what everyone else thinks of it. AMEN!

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