I was having trouble getting my partially home-baked Ruby WSSE implementation to play nice with Hiroshi Asakura’s NTT server-side, so I asked him to send me his WSSE client code. I eventually got it to work (not 100% sure how) but at one point I was peering closely at Hiroshi’s code and thinking “What does that do?” and realized I wasn’t sure what programming language I was reading. Then I realized it didn’t really matter, they all look more and more like each other. It turned out to be C#.


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From: Michael Neale (Apr 17 2007, at 17:19)

You could get killed on the street for saying the truth like that ;)

The difference is more and more sugar for imperative languages, and certainly OO. Of course, some people will say "sugar matters" and they are probably right, but not as much as it used to. Of course there is still the static versus dynamic typing war (as opposed to strong versus weak which people mistake it for).

The main remaining differences are with different paradigms like functional (even that is creeping into imperative language, more as a style then anything).

So, we should just all agree, and use Lisp ;)



From: roberthahn (Apr 17 2007, at 18:56)

Hey, Michael, why not JavaScript? It's close enough! ;)



From: Tony Fisk (Apr 17 2007, at 21:25)

Sugar is important to employment agencies, who insist you are proficient with the right flavour before considering you. It has led to me coining the term 'glass wall' as a social anti-pattern.

Sugar is unhealthy: it can lead to a proliferation of 'gurus'.

.. as in Ruby, where I was trying to debug some code and was going slowly troppo wondering where all the variables were suddenly appearing from. It turns out the original coder was being clever, defining variables in different stack spaces, and swapping them in as appropriate. As you do. (Note to beginners: this is what mapped arrays/dictionaries are for)

.. as in python, where a large suite (again inherited from somewhere else) was making use of aspects. This is a rather advanced and not very widely known coding technique, and it wasn't until we saw the sole accompanying comment ("You are not expected to understand this code") that we knew what to do: remove it.


From: David Knight (Apr 17 2007, at 21:36)

I find that the syntax of a language is the easiest part to master. The extensive class libraries that come with all languages are much more difficult. The .net code is a little easier for outsiders to read because M$ stuck to their framework design guidelines which, among other things, require that all class and method names be composed from full dictionary words. No acronyms or abbreviations. Now that I've moving from .net to Ruby, I have to grumble and search the docs when I see methods with names like "oct", "gsub" and "ljust"


From: William Newman (Apr 18 2007, at 08:06)

Somewhat seriously, there may be a pronounced tendency to "all look more and more like each other" --- but "all" only within particular problem domains, I think. For the domain of web applications, perhaps a Java-ish look. As a peek into a rather different problem domain, see "The Seventeen Provers of the World," http://www.cs.ru.nl/~freek/comparison/, conveniently collected. I don't expect they'll be converging to anything Java-ish soon, unless you think ML (a common choice of implementation language there) already looks more or less like Java, or you think tactics goulash (a common choice of language style used to express what the implementations work with) looks like XML. Similarly, when I skimmed various chess-playing programs some years ago, they tended to look more like each other than like web apps...


From: Dave Walker (Apr 20 2007, at 10:22)

It seems that "Real Programmers Still Don't Use Pascal", then ( http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/real.programmers.html ). 8-)

Back in my University days, a friend of mine wrote something in Fortran which looked so like ARM assembler, it still makes me grin and shake my head when I think of it...


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