Why are languages popular?

Someone posted this on the Nim forum in a thread asking is it enterprise ready.

I thought the fundamental points the presenter makes are applicable to any language.

I disagree with him, I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It’s also not becoming the norm, and never will. Our entire world and universe is instilled with physical objects that are innately object-oriented. This resonates with far more people, thus more developers flock to OOP practices.

I’ve seen this. In my opinion the analysis is a bit shallow, however many of the points are valid, it’s just the speaker presents a picture that’s somewhat one-sided.

@girng_github this harkens back nicely to the epic encapsulation thread though, please take notes.

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I am working my way through the video, but I have to say the more I learn about behavioral economics, the more I understand why languages become popular. One example is when people commit to making a change, and the difference tends to be a big one instead of incremental ones. This is on average, of course. Which is one reason why I think Rubists went to languages like Go, Closure, or Elixir. If you are going to invest in a change, you might as well make it “worth it.” Even though I think Crystal addresses their main concerns in Ruby.

I think the presentation overlooks some important history of the languages, and I said as much in a few responses I made to the youtube video. And I could have brought up more things that I believe he either missed or overlooked, but it didn’t seem worth it.

I also doubt that I could give a good reason for why some languages made it and others did not. I am pretty interested in programming languages, and I find it frustrating that it seems to take at multiple years to get a good feel for how well a language performs in the real world.

Have not had time to watch the presentation yet, but my standard reply for why languages become popular is:

a) There exists a “killer app” that makes a big difference to how things used to be before.


b) it is easy to get results without much time investment. basically : an amateur (in the best sense of the word) can use it AND it has an easy GUI option.

I’m still bitter that python won the popularity contest, instead of ruby, it just was (and in part still is today) too hard to make gui software under windows and have other people install it easily.

So, that is my take.

  • easy
  • gui toolkit
  • cross platform
  • produces easy to install artifacts.