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If you have previously checked out the online job postings for software developers, about 75% of them require Java, C#/.NET, PHP, Flash/ActionScript, Ruby, Python, or Perl.  In Hawaii, that percentage is probably between 90-95%.  During the past decade or two, C, C++, and other compiled languages have taken a back seat to these interpretive and virtual machine based languages.  Here are some of the game changers that will shift the trend back.


It Began with the iPhone Apps


For those of you not familiar with development on the iPhone or any of the Apple products, the apps are written in Objective-C, a superset of the C language.  In 2008, a developer named Steve Demester developed an iPhone game called Trism that raked in $250,000 from the Apple App Store in the first two months.  This started a new wave of developers wanting to learn Objective-C and the iPhone development kit.  There were traditional game programmers that developed for game consoles and PCs, but the frenzy over iPhone Apps opened up a door to any one that wanted to develop games and apps without having to work for EA or Blizzard.  This lured many Java and .NET developers back into the world of compiled languages.


C++0x Finalized


C++ doesn’t garner much attention as Java, C#/.NET, or Ruby on Rails does to the general developer audience.  C++, however, is still one of the most versatile languages out there and still one of my favorites.  It offers development speed through its support for object oriented design and performance speed by the fact that it runs natively without a virtual machine.  Most of you are probably unaware that the C++ standards committee had been working on a new standard for over a decade.  Some of you were probably wishing it would die, never to be seen again.  Well I’m happy to say it has been finalized and is expected to be published by the ISO this year and will officially be released as C++11.  (The 0x was actually an unofficial name because the community thought it would be finalized before 2010).  Some of the new features that will be part of the standard are lambdas, type inferencing, standardized support for multithreading (std::thread), regular expressions, etc...


Go!!


Normally the release of a new language or framework doesn’t excite me much and I’m always skeptical about what they have to offer aside from the languages I currently know.  However, Go looks very promising and it will probably be the next language I learn.  It’s a compiled language that looks like a dynamically typed language.  Also, since data is never shared between active threads, the complexity involved in synchronizing with shared data is nonexistent, thus making it easier to implement concurrency.  I haven’t delved too much in Go code, but if Heroku is using Go in their backend system, it’s something worth looking into.  

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Comment by Daniel Nishimura on June 8, 2011 at 8:56pm

@Larry

Very cool... it'll be interesting to hear Tom give a talk on the new C++0x (C++11 I mean) features one day.  I've used the Boost library extensively at my previous job and I know a lot of the ideas are borrowed from there, but I haven't quite delved into the gcc TR1 libraries to get a taste of the 0x features.

Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 7, 2011 at 7:42pm

@Larry re: Tom Plum

Very interesting! I didn't know about Tom and his work on C++ and C#. Anders Hejlsberg has always been my favorite language designer. I hope I get a chance to chat with Tom about his language work the next time he makes it to Oahu.

Comment by Larry O'Brien on June 7, 2011 at 6:05pm

Speaking of C++0x, Tom Plum of Kamuela on the Big Island is one of members of both the C and C++ language standards community and Kona regularly plays host to all the big players in the community -- Bjarne Stroustrup, Herb Sutter, P.J. Plauger, Andy Koenig, etc. Tom's also a member of the C# and CLR ECMA standards committees, which bring in such luminaries as Anders Hjelsberg, Miguel de Icaza, etc. 

 

If you're interested in the programming languages community, Hawaii is one of the places to be! 

Comment by Cameron Souza on May 19, 2011 at 12:06pm
Really? Thats great! Please keep us updated.
Comment by Daniel Nishimura on May 19, 2011 at 12:03pm

@Cameron

I heard John is going to work on one... but it could just be a rumor :)

Comment by Cameron Souza on May 19, 2011 at 11:20am
I think Go strikes a great balance between programmer friendliness and performance. I hope someone creates a good Go web framework.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on May 18, 2011 at 4:44pm

Its funny how cyclic things are in the software field. Compiled languages are the only real languages...10 years pass...compiled languages are for old farts...10 years pass...compiled languages are hip, especially if they look like scripted languages...

The same thing happens with programming paradigms like OO, AOP, LOP / DSL, functional, etc.

On a related note, I just created a group for those interested in Go.

Comment by Brian on May 17, 2011 at 10:55pm
Go seems like python that compiles to native code.

I think part of the reason the "easy" scripting languages are diminishing in visibility is that tools are more powerful now. Why bother learning HTML and asp when you're using a CMS (or have outsourced your publishing/collab platform entirely to something schema driven that has user-friendly tools)?

I'm launching a new site and it basically consists of wordpress... And yeah. Content trumps infrastructure, which I think is a good thing. Puts power back in the users.

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