Linked by snydeq on Sun 11th Dec 2011 01:35 UTC
General Development Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister writes in favor of new programming languages given the difficulty of upgrading existing, popular languages. 'Whenever a new programming language is announced, a certain segment of the developer population always rolls its eyes and groans that we have quite enough to choose from already,' McAllister writes. 'But once a language reaches a certain tipping point of popularity, overhauling it to include support for new features, paradigms, and patterns is easier said than done.' PHP 6, Perl 6, Python 3, ECMAScript 4 -- 'the lesson from all of these examples is clear: Programming languages move slowly, and the more popular a language is, the slower it moves. It is far, far easier to create a new language from whole cloth than it is to convince the existing user base of a popular language to accept radical changes.'
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Browser languages
by yourpalal on Sun 11th Dec 2011 02:33 UTC
yourpalal
Member since:
2011-04-15

This is exactly why we need something JVM-ish in the browser. It doesn't have to be a JVM, maybe even a restricted subset of ECMAScript that can be heavily optimized, which would act as a compile target for other languages. As it stands, updates to JS take too long, and will be unsupported on older browsers.. what's the point?

Any programmer worth his salt knows that you pick the tools based on the job you're doing, and right now, the only choice for web development is JS. While JS works fine for some tasks, it isn't well suited for every single thing you might want to run in a browser, and it never will be.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Browser languages
by Alfman on Sun 11th Dec 2011 03:05 in reply to "Browser languages"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

yourpalal,

"Any programmer worth his salt knows that you pick the tools based on the job you're doing, and right now, the only choice for web development is JS. While JS works fine for some tasks, it isn't well suited for every single thing you might want to run in a browser, and it never will be."

Yes I agree. I often wish we could write code that could run equally well between the server and browser, and even as a native app on the desktop. It sucks having to write code in multiple languages between a client and server to handle web pages. I've even contemplated using javascript on the server to avoid logic duplication.

JVM-like technologies benefit from native performance and the same code can be used on the server, client, desktop, anywhere. It would open up new possibilities, such as freezing an application on the desktop, serialising it, and transferring it to run natively on a tablet. Javascript just isn't up to the task and never will be.

Of course, this kind of power under end user control would scare the crap out of companies promoting walled gardens. So we're probably stuck with less powerful javascript for a while longer.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Browser languages
by Shannara on Sun 11th Dec 2011 03:10 in reply to "Browser languages"
Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

"Any programmer worth his salt knows that you pick the tools based on the job you're doing, and right now, the only choice for web development is JS. While JS works fine for some tasks, it isn't well suited for every single thing you might want to run in a browser, and it never will be."

Uhh.. Unless you mean something else other then what you type. This simply is not true. I could name at least 5 other languages that you can use for web development that is much more common then JS.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Browser languages
by Alfman on Sun 11th Dec 2011 03:24 in reply to "RE: Browser languages"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Shannara,

It was pretty clear to me he meant in the browser, where the choice of built in languages is indeed limited to javascript.

Edit: Although, now that I think about it, many years ago IE did support vbscript too.

Edited 2011-12-11 03:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Browser languages
by JAlexoid on Sun 11th Dec 2011 04:26 in reply to "RE: Browser languages"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

For a browser?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Browser languages
by yourpalal on Wed 14th Dec 2011 23:19 in reply to "RE: Browser languages"
yourpalal Member since:
2011-04-15

Uhh.. Unless you mean something else other then what you type. This simply is not true. I could name at least 5 other languages that you can use for web development that is much more common then JS.


I'd love to be proven wrong, what 5 languages are used client side more than JS? I'll accept languages that compile to JS in your list too.

I know Python can be compiled to JS, and Java through GWT, but I'm pretty sure that straight-up JS is still the #1 client-side language.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Browser languages
by snowbender on Sun 11th Dec 2011 10:12 in reply to "Browser languages"
snowbender Member since:
2006-05-04

I like what you say. Browsers should natively support the execution of a certain type of bytecode, and come with a standard library. Instead of specifying that a browser support this version of JavaScript, we would just say that it supports this version of the bytecode, and this version of a standard library.

That way, anyone is free to write a compiler from his favorite language to bytecode that is supported on a browser.

The thing that bothers me, is that JavaScript is a language that is very hard to execute efficiently. And in the beginning when JavaScript was used for very simple stuff, that was fine. Nowadays, people try to build full-blown desktop applications in the browser, and the result is that so much time and energy is put into trying to execute JavaScript efficiently.

Can you imagine where we would be right now, if in the beginning one would have supported a specific bytecode set instead of JavaScript? In a way, nowadays we actually do use "JavaScript" as some kind of intermediate code (not really bytecode, but close) with for example GWT that just compiles Java code into JavaScript code: going from a language that as of today can be executed very efficiently into something that is hard to execute efficiently, and then trying to optimise the hard-to-optimise JavaScript.

Reply Parent Score: 3