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Discussion on: Programming without a programming language

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Graham Trott Author

Good points, Ivan. When I cited HTML and SQL I was aware that although both are domain-specific they are also de facto standards the whole world uses. The conclusion being that although most DSLs start off as "pet projects" - or are born out of necessity as in the case of the one in my article - some have the good fortune to go on and become established. PHP and Python could probably be classed as former pet projects, whereas JavaScript - along with VBScript - was conceived to serve a particular need at the time. However, the distinction is rather arbitrary, as most projects come from someone's perceived need, rather than "I think I'll write a new language just for the hell of it".

A question implicitly raised by Paddy3118 is "what defines a web language?" Although PHP and JavaScript are both supported by huge amounts of code that targets web applications, neither of the languages themselves are heavily slanted to web use and both are quite capable of doing many of the jobs you might use Python or Java for. The two DSLs I'm currently developing are internally very similar, but the JavaScript one is definitely web-oriented and the Python one is definitely not. (The Python one is somewhat better written; it benefits from the experience I gained doing it in JavaScript, but both are in fact derived from an original I wrote in Java 20 years ago. This old dog has been chewing the same bone all that time.)