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Overwhelming amount of languages.

The Hollanesian
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I am actually getting back into programming just for fun as a hobby. I downloaded and opened up  Notepad++. Went to Languages option on the menu and saw a whole lot of them. Some I have heard of and some not. Currently trying to learn Python since it seems like the main language currently. Two decades ago I remembered at my highschool I learned Pascal and then at a technical college I learned C++, Visual Basic and Javascript. Now my question to all you developers out there is what is the point of having all these languages? Why not have 1 universal language and phase the other ones out or just stick with a previous one and not create new languages? I can understand a few exceptions maybe like Javascript is for the internet and websites and something like SQL is for databases but even with that why not make something like C++ or even Python compatible with web developing since their selectors, properties, values/variables, declarations are similar anyway. If I sound ignorant I apologize. Just trying to figure out the logic behind all this. I feel like there is no point in relearning C++ if Python is the main thing now.

 

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3 minutes ago, The Hollanesian said:

Why not have 1 universal language and phase the other ones out or just stick with a previous one and not create new languages?

Cause there all better at different things. Many are now in or moving into the legacy group, where there mostly used for older projects.

 

Like for python vs C++. Python is often easier to write, takes less code for a given task, but C++ is a good amount faster. Also compiled vs interpreted language. 

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5 minutes ago, The Hollanesian said:

Why not have 1 universal language and phase the other ones out or just stick with a previous one and not create new languages?

https://xkcd.com/927/

 

Because different languages have different strengths and weaknesses. There's no one language to rule them all. And sometimes people are just plain unhappy with language X, so they create language Y to fix the shortcomings X has (in their opinion), only to create some shortcomings of their own that others fix by creating language Z.

Remember to quote or @mention others, so they are notified of your reply

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Programming languages are tools. You can do many things with a hammer but taking down a tree with a hammer is harder than with an axe. So yeah some languages can be more specialized than others, some are in vogue some are out of date (for today's standard) but all of them are useful for a specific use case.

 

Another thing to consider are libraries. Python for example have a ton of nice (an maintained) big data libraries. So yeah you can do all that in Delphi (Pascal) but you will have to port everything from scratch and Pascal developers are far less than Python devs nowdays.

 

You can't phase out languages even if you wish. Some banks and part of the Canadian government still use core apps written in Cobol (a 50's language)! They are slowly porting but this costs millions of dollars to do so and for what? If it still works it works. You can't port huge apps without breaking things so yeah you get a shiny new system but not as tested as the legacy one.

 

Python by the way is used heavily for Web developing and is a good choice to get back to programming as a hobby since it's the cool kid on the block. PHP is a good choice also I would think.

 

 

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Great question!   I think the replies here are spot on so far:  different languages can be better for certain use cases!   For example, Python is amazing at data visualization, statistics, and a ton of other "data" related work. Some languages might have niches and others might have more job opportunities.

 

Another question I hear often is "which language should I learn?" and my answer is:  Any of them.  The truth is that while you are learning a specific language, "programming" is a skill you learn regardless of what language you learn.  Programming is about solving problems designing systems, understanding patterns, and about distilling sometimes complicated things into simple solutions.  If you learn those basic skills with Python, you can later on move on to a totally different language if you choose and still be able to use those same skills.

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Just relax! Programming languages are the last point to worry about because, as others have already mentioned, they're good at different things.

 

Yet, there will be things that you will exercise across multiple languages you use in your projects -  for example, if you're working with languages that operate data and such, you will most likely make good use of various data structures, patterns, ways to make sure your code uses the least amount of resources, etc. You're right saying there's a lot of them, but the important thing is, you're definitely not going to use only one, and you're definitely never need every single one of them. As you get more experience and gain expertise, programming languages as a thing will lose their value to you for the most part, and you'll value them just like you value tools for various jobs. Syntax and built-in methods and performance and extra stuff available (such as frameworks and libraries) will be different from one language to another, but you'll soon see that those are very minor differences compared to learning something completely new that you can't even apply a pattern to because it's so different.

 

This year I landed my first programming job, and we use a language here that is, well, not really used anywhere else because it's a part of the ecosystem for the software we work with. Yet, this language was built to resemble Java, thus helping me learn and recognize common things about building applications that will most likely transcend the languages and allow me to pick up another language much faster simply because I will have to learn just the language itself, not principles around programming and ways to build things properly.

 

And it's going to be the same for you. Just stick with one language you like at first and built stuff with it, gain some experience with it, and it will actually teach you something you'll be able to take away to another language you might have an interest in later. But again, the thing is, programming languages matter the least, and there's no main or most viable programming language or anything like that.

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On 10/14/2021 at 12:36 AM, The Hollanesian said:

I am actually getting back into programming just for fun as a hobby. I downloaded and opened up  Notepad++. Went to Languages option on the menu and saw a whole lot of them. Some I have heard of and some not. Currently trying to learn Python since it seems like the main language currently. Two decades ago I remembered at my highschool I learned Pascal and then at a technical college I learned C++, Visual Basic and Javascript. Now my question to all you developers out there is what is the point of having all these languages? Why not have 1 universal language and phase the other ones out or just stick with a previous one and not create new languages? I can understand a few exceptions maybe like Javascript is for the internet and websites and something like SQL is for databases but even with that why not make something like C++ or even Python compatible with web developing since their selectors, properties, values/variables, declarations are similar anyway. If I sound ignorant I apologize. Just trying to figure out the logic behind all this. I feel like there is no point in relearning C++ if Python is the main thing now.

 

Because there will always be weirdoes who like something that you think is stupid. Eg: Pythons indentation 

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19 hours ago, WolframaticAlpha said:

Because there will always be weirdoes who like something that you think is stupid. Eg: Pythons indentation 

That indentation thing is a pain in the a**. From what I've seen if you copy some code from somewhere, that IS indented, the compiler throws an indentation error. So I have to go through the lines and redo all the indentations. Though, it does make it a bit easier to read IMO.

I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL! Please, quote or mention people so they get a notification, please. pls let me know if i did something stupid

If I started a new shop, and named it "Shop", what would be your reaction? That's my reaction when people title their post as "Windows 11" or something shitty instead of something that actually describes what the thread is about. Only cool kids (dark mode users) can read this.

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1 hour ago, RockSolid1106 said:

That indentation thing is a pain in the a**. From what I've seen if you copy some code from somewhere, that IS indented, the compiler throws an indentation error. So I have to go through the lines and redo all the indentations. Though, it does make it a bit easier to read IMO.

It is an interpreter(Yes, I am fun at parties, why do you ask?)
for classes and functions iirc you could:

def foobar2000(): {
return "something something"
}

to nullify the indentation. It does not work for everything. I mainly use python for scripting, so it isn't that big of an issue but is quite annoying when you go above 1k loc.

 

The biggest problem is that python oneliners take a while to get the hang of. And that you can't minify your code. Good luck participating in the under 100 loc topic with python.

 

In my mind, go has the best syntax.

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On 10/13/2021 at 9:06 PM, The Hollanesian said:

Why not have 1 universal language and phase the other ones out or just stick with a previous one and not create new languages? I can understand a few exceptions maybe like Javascript is for the internet and websites and something like SQL is for databases but even with that why not make something like C++ or even Python compatible with web developing since their selectors, properties, values/variables, declarations are similar anyway. If I sound ignorant I apologize. Just trying to figure out the logic behind all this. I feel like there is no point in relearning C++ if Python is the main thing now.

I think the problem you've got here is that you're thinking about different programming languages as different was of doing the same job. But they're not, they're more like different was of doing different jobs. Sure they all share some basic features like the ability to do math, or write files to disk, but those aren't their main features.

 

You've actually hit on a great example here too with your question of why use Javascript on the web instead of just using Python? The answer is, that you can use python on the web or you could even use javascript as your backend. The question isn't why use this language or that one for a particular job, but when.

 

Think of different programming languages like you think of different programs. Why use Notepad++ for editing your source code? Why not use Notepad, they both open text files, allow you to edit them and save them to disk? The reason depends on what you want to do.

 

In programming you should start with some kind of goal. "I want to do x", that goal determines your language, and the goal + language determines your IDE. The different languages are matched to specific goals. 

 

I recommend that you just keep learning and using Python. Use it for absolutely everything. By the time that you run into something Python is really bad at, you'll know enough about Object Oriented programming that changing languages or even IDE wouldn't be a big deal. If you're sticking with Windows, I'd also recommend you check out Visual Studio Code or Atom. They fill the same IDE niche as Notepad++, they're just better at it (IMO). 

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