DynamicStatic Language Envy

by M. David Peterson

Has anyone noticed the same trend I have? We're in this weird area of language evolution in which those of us who have been trained to think statically are beginning to envy some of the niceties provided by dynamic languages (such as implicit types) while at the same time those of us who have been trained to think dynamically are beginning to envy some of the niceties provided by static languages (such as explicit types.)

Weird.

Take, for example, C# 3.0 implicitly typed local variables,


10 Comments

Ric
2008-05-28 18:07:58
Ha! I have always though the same about the mysterious 'M. David Person': Smart, but Weird!
I started to follow you online cuz I thought we were of a feather. Then I realized how different you really are. And THEN I found out all the crazy kewl things you were doin and I knew how smart you were.
Hell, I was tracking your junk for more a year before I found out what 'M.' stood for.
Keep it comin!
M. David Peterson
2008-05-28 19:36:28
@Ric,


>> Hell, I was tracking your junk for more a year before I found out what 'M.' stood for.


I'm not even sure *I* know what it stands for anymore ;-)

Dan Sickles
2008-05-28 19:40:43
I'm re-writing an Eclipse plug-in in Scala...I haven't had this much fun since I learned python many years ago.


It's now "OK" to look at the other side and say, "hey, that's cool".


Not long ago, only us weirdos could do that.

M. David Peterson
2008-05-28 20:36:35
>> It's now "OK" to look at the other side and say, "hey, that's cool".


Yeah, I've long wondered if the static/dynamic language debate would turn into a Holy War. I'm glad to see it's seemingly heading in the other direction. :)


>> Not long ago, only us weirdos could do that.


Yup! :D

piers
2008-05-28 21:06:38
It's funny, when I recently read Dan McCreary's article on the benefits of declarative languages, eXist, XQuery and XForms, with which I fully agree, my initial reaction was "don't be too dismissive of object databases, their time will come, Seaside and Smalltalk and all that" - I mean, I'm a lisper/schemer from way back, and I'm just itching to try something using a web framework that is about as iterative and non-RESTful as you can imagine. Why? I think you hit the nail on the head - developers may be starting to wise up that Holy Wars are wholly lame, and serve nobody well.


Weird.

M. David Peterson
2008-05-28 21:53:13
>> Why? I think you hit the nail on the head - developers may be starting to wise up that Holy Wars are wholly lame, and serve nobody well.


Isn't it great! I was fully expecting to have to bunker down for the next 5-10 years worth of language and platform Holy Wars, but for some wonderful yet unknown reason (maybe it's something as simple as human curiosity?) that's not how it seems to be playing out.


*SWEET*! Weird. But *SWEET* none-the-less. :)

piers
2008-05-29 09:17:32
@M:D - I think we probably have the web to thank for that in a lot of ways, and the economy - used to be, you were a COBOL programmer and that's who you were and what you did, then your contract ended, and you got another COBOL job... now, you're a java code monkey for a while, you get laid off, throw together a facebook app using php on the front and jquery on the back while you're looking for a new job, switch to C# for a while...


Seriously though, for better or worse, access to high level information about a lot of different platforms and languages is readily available now. The masses know *just enough* about a lot of technologies, but the downside is that the COBOL programmer had a bookshelf stacked with manuals and knew the language backwards and forwards, whereas nobody in their right mind knows php backwards and forwards.

M. David Peterson
2008-05-29 09:59:41
@piers,


>> @M:D - I think we probably have the web to thank for that in a lot of ways, and the economy -


Oh, excellent point!


>> used to be, you were a COBOL programmer and that's who you were and what you did, then your contract ended, and you got another COBOL job... now, you're a java code monkey for a while, you get laid off, throw together a facebook app using php on the front and jquery on the back


I've even heard of people using jQuery on the frontend and PHP on the back!


Yeah, I know... weird. ;-) :D


>> while you're looking for a new job, switch to C# for a while...


... and then fall head over heals for XSLT 2.0. Yeah, I know... It's a love story I've heard too many times to count. ;-)


>> Seriously though, for better or worse, access to high level information about a lot of different platforms and languages is readily available now.


Yeah, this is really an important point.


>> The masses know *just enough* about a lot of technologies, but the downside is that the COBOL programmer had a bookshelf stacked with manuals and knew the language backwards and forwards, whereas nobody in their right mind knows php backwards and forwards.


For that matter, no one in their right mind would use PHP.


And with that, let the Holy Wars begin! :D


DISCLAIMER: I don't really feel that way about PHP. Just looking for way to get some Babies Mama Drama woven back into the conversation. *MUCH* more interesting and fun that just agreeing with everyone! ;-)

piers
2008-05-29 10:31:04
>>> I've even heard of people using jQuery on the frontend and PHP on the back!


durr - obviously I needed a cup of chai before I start to type... it's funny, tho, java on the client, java on the server, xsl on the client, xsl on the server, javascript with RUNAT=Server, it can get confusing ;)

M. David Peterson
2008-05-29 11:54:12
@piers,


>> obviously I needed a cup of chai before I start to type...


You should consider Yerba Mate. -> Has become my "wake the f*!k up, yet be happy about it" beverage of choice as of late. :)


>> it's funny, tho, java on the client, java on the server, xsl on the client, xsl on the server, javascript with RUNAT=Server, it can get confusing ;)


Want to go for a headtrip like none-other?


Try Volta on for size > http://research.microsoft.com/~emeijer/ :)


Ouch! (is all I have to say ;-))