Written by Ian Elliot
Wednesday, 06 June 2012
It is almost a shame to have to focus in on a few lines of what is an interesting discussion. If you know just a little of more than one programming language, you will find this video fascinating and instructive.
In case you don't know the panel, Anders Hejlsberg, Gilad Bracha, Martin Odersky, and Peter Alvaro are some of the most influential language experts. Anders Hejlsberg brought us Turbo Pascal, Delphi and C#, not to mention the whole idea of .NET. Gilad Bracha invented Newspeak and is currently the main behind Google's Dart. Martin Odersky is the man who invented the Scala programming language. Peter Alvaro is perhaps lesser known, but as a PhD student working on the intersection of database and distributed systems, he has a lot of interesting things to say and brings a different perspective to the chat.
As the moderator, Erik Meijer, points out the panel has a wide range of views on language design and on role of data typing in particular.
"No, I think you can, but I don't think you can maintain them."
The laughter at this point is telling of the opinion and attitude of the audience and the panel.
From here the discussion goes on to explain that this is the reason Google is creating Dart:
"That's true but combining two bad things does not make them better. "
From here the talk goes on to other interesting topics, mostly with an undercurrent of strong typing v weak typing.
If you have a hammer then every screw looks like a nail.
If you have a panel of language geeks then every problem needs a new language to solve it.
Microsoft once had the role of a leader in language design and implementation. Even if you don't like strong typing and prefer another language paradigm you have to admire C# and the .NET system as being an intelligent approach to programming. Given Microsoft's current disdain for languages and language development, it would come as no surprise if Anders Hejlsberg was looking for a new home - the only question is where is there a suitable powerbase capable of supporting something as large and ambitious as .NET.