Steve Yegge: JavaScript is the Chosen One

2007-02-12 06:17:00

It seems that Steve Yegge has received word from the mysterious cabal of shadow-government dudes who control mainstream programming languages, and he knows what they've chosen as the next big language.

Apparently, it's JavaScript.

He writes:

And I got a tip — a rather detail-packed one at that — as to which way the wind is blowing. Let's face it: I've been digging into this story for years, so it should be no surprise that I got the scoop.

He prudently refuses to reveal its name -- if he were to say too much, he'd probably vanish, only to show up some weeks later, wandering around in a forest with some kind of extra-terrestrial computer chip in the back of his neck.

Read the entire description, but he's clearly talking about JavaScript 2.

Rule number one -- "C-like syntax," rules out Ruby (and Python too, if you're in that camp). All those semi-colons and curly braces are pretty noisy, but, as Steve points out, "Bad or not, NBL will have approximately C-like syntax because if it doesn't, most programmers won't give it a second glance." Interestingly, I happen to know at least one otherwise very sharp programmer who has turned up his nose at Ruby specifically because it doesn't look like C. Yes, it really happens.

The other obvious bits:

As a special sneak preview, its static type system will include a "standard" class system (i.e. the kind you're used to if you do any conventional OOP using C++ or Java or Python or whatever, as opposed to Common Lisp's object system or some other unconventional one.) Not that the standard system is any better, but it's what people want.

People always seem to bend over backward to try to emulate normal class-based inheritance with JavaScript, so I suppose it makes sense to give people what they think they want.

Nothing terribly surprising here, but the cloak-and-dagger routine is entertaining -- and Steve's points about what it takes to make a successful mainstream language are interesting and enlightening. Also, the guys in the comments shouting out stuff like "Dylan?" and "Fortress!" are just hysterically funny, whether they mean to be or not.


This is the blog for Matthew Eernisse. I currently work at Yammer as a developer, working mostly with JavaScript. All opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's.


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