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Discussion on: What made you switch your main programming language?

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millebi profile image
Bill Miller

Wow, I seem to have gotten to the party a lot earlier than everyone else so far... I started at the tail end of the "build it yourself with a soldering iron" phase. My first language was BASIC and from there I moved on to 6809 and Z80 assembler while still interfacing with hardware and making my own boards. After college I actively programmed in BASIC, COBOL, DYL-280, Prolog with a lot of funky scripting langages (NCR ITX, DOS) for a number of years. After that we moved into 4GLs at work, so I was developing using Foxpro, VB and Progress with some COBOL in the middle. I finally made it into the "real" world of programming when I started with Java 1.0 in the early 90's, what a wonderful language that was where the compiler would actually tell you more than "you spelled something wrong". I have been working in Java since then and have added C#, C, and Ruby.

My main factors in learning new languages (current total is 30 languages) is the desire to do something better/faster/easier than whatever I was working with, but in most cases it was my work changing to go in different directions. I started with Web programming in the late 90's using Java/JSPs and simple HTML (cursing that you couldn't even depend upon there being JavaScript on the browser back then). JS has only gotten better and better since that point, such that I like it a lot for many small tasks that need a UI. I find it amazing that I can now slap together a simple application in JS/HTML/CSS with a trivial backend in any one of Java or Ruby and have it fully functional in 1 day or less. This was unheard of for me in the early 90's where a GUI alone took a week.

With the new libraries and frameworks coming out fast and furious it's now almost impossible to work on anything using "current" technology. In most cases I live with "newish" technology using something that's 1-2 years old.

One useful tidbit that becomes obvious after you learn a bunch of languages is: Language syntax is the easiest thing to learn, it's the libraries that will kill you.

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tiagoamaro profile image
Tiago Padrela Amaro Author

One useful tidbit that becomes obvious after you learn a bunch of languages is: Language syntax is the easiest thing to learn, it's the libraries that will kill you.

👏 Bravo! 👏 Will keep this in mind for the rest of my dev life!