Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

Can we stop the language bashing please ?

With some regularity articles are being penned about the shortcomings of language x,y or z.

It doesn’t matter which language has it’s turn, be it Perl, PHP, Python or something else, they all seem to get their share of trash heaped on them from time to time.

Invariably these articles become very popular and get linked from all over the web because they appeal to a very human instinct, the fear of the ‘other’ and the group against the individual.

Of course, there will be those that will argue that criticism is good and that this will lead to improvements, but in actual fact the criticism is uniformly negative, usually quite childish and un-actionable, one step shy of a value statement about the users of those languages.

It’s just a good old hanging party in disguise.

Instead of bashing the other guys language let’s try to take a positive attitude for a change and turn the whole thing upside down.

Which features in the language that you so despise would enhance the tools that you use on a daily basis. I’m sure there is something the PHP aficionados could learn from Python - and vice versa! Ditto for all the other languages. Lisp isn’t perfect (if it were everybody would be using it) and neither is Java (but you already knew that).

Don’t get lost in the stupid nearly religious argument that because ‘only inexperienced people use x’ or ‘only theoretical programmers use y’ you wouldn’t be seen near it or caught dead with a manual for that particular language, unless it was to light a bonfire.

Every language, including the most vile but still Turing complete abomination (I’m looking at you, mumps) has something that we can all learn from and something that is worth singling out for admiration.

Get of your high horse already, it’s not the end of the world that some people use a tool other than the one that you are most comfortable with, or that you have invested the most time in. It doesn’t make you any more wrong than ‘they’ are.

The time you spend bashing someone elses’ tool you could be using to improve the mastery of your own.

Or are you that insecure that you can only raise your own (languages) profile by reducing someone elses?

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