A programming language is a formal computer language or constructed language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs to control the behavior of a machine or to express algorithms.
The earliest known programmable machine preceded the invention of the digital computer and is the automatic flute player described in the 9th century by the brothers Musa in Baghdad, “during the Islamic Golden Age”. rom the early 1800s, “programs” were used to direct the behavior of machines such as Jacquard looms and player pianos. Thousands of different programming languages have been created, mainly in the computer field, and many more still are being created every year. Many programming languages require computation to be specified in an imperative form (i.e., as a sequence of operations to perform), while other languages use other forms of program specification such as the declarative form (i.e. the desired result is specified, not how to achieve it).
The description of a programming language is usually split into the two components of syntax (form) and semantics (meaning). Some languages are defined by a specification document (for example, the C programming language is specified by an ISO Standard), while other languages (such as Perl) have a dominant implementation that is treated as a reference. Some languages have both, with the basic language defined by a standard and extensions taken from the dominant implementation being common.
You don’t need us to tell you that when it comes to tech, staying ahead of the curve is a pretty good idea. In such an innovative and fast-paced industry, new technologies are emerging every week, every day… basically all the time!
Sometimes there’s no way to predict what’s right around the corner; all we can do is look at current trends and speculate where they might go. Coding is no different. With that in mind, here are the 7most in-demand programming languages of 2017 that are all set to shine bright this year
Perl and Python have had a bitter rivalry for many, many years. Depending on whom you ask,one is set to meet an untimely death at the hands of the other – and the winner switches according to whichever language is more popular at the time. But the fact of the matter is that they both have a lot of similarities. Python has certainly been winning the popularity contest of late, but Perl remains a powerful system scripting language with a huge community.
As well as that, Perl can be used to write almost any kind of program, runs fast (once you know what you’re doing), and is actually a FUN language! It has also undergone a major transformation over the past few years and is almost unrecognisable from its early days. This is a true ‘dark horse’ of a programming language, and anyone in the know will tell you to expect big things.
Google’s Go programming language (Golang) has been ‘up and coming’ for a few years now. In 2016 its popularity skyrocketed, so 2017 is guaranteed to be the year when everybody – and we mean everybody – starts using Go. It’s the epitome of all of the biggest programming trends of late; it emphasises simplicity, high performance, efficiency and in-built support. And most significantly, it’s easy to learn.
In the last 12 months in particular start-ups have made it their language of choice. Proving a very dangerous rival to the likes of Ruby and Node, Go is one to watch. Oh, and did we mention it’s the brainchild of Google? Judging on many of their past achievements, it’s safe to say it will only get bigger and better.
Not to be outdone by Google, Mozilla launched its very own programming language back in 2014. While it didn’t receive the same immediate hype and success as Go or similar languages, the number of Rust users has swelled significantly in 2016. Mark our words; Rust is going to explode in popularity in 2017.
But what is it exactly? Basically Rust was developed as an upgrade to C and C++, and handles the same kinds of programming tasks as C. It’s general purpose and is focussed on type safety, memory safety, concurrency and performance. Security is its biggest advantage – it’s almost impossible to run code that could be unsafe – and its ‘newness’ is (for now) its biggest disadvantage. That said, Rust has gained a stable footing in the programming world of late. Expect it to go places in 2017.
Never heard of Hack? You’ll be hearing nothing else soon enough. This is Facebook’s programming language for the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM), and is a dialect of PHP. It was introduced in 2014 and now makes up 90% of Facebook’s code. How does that fit into the larger coding landscape? Let’s break it down…
Hack is barely 2 years old. It’s holding up the back end of arguably the most popular website/app in the world… a website with 1.5 billion active users who use it for everything from instant messaging to shopping to playing games. Make no mistake; Hack is no flash in the pan and the fact that it’s a dialect of PHP means that it could eclipse its long-standing predecessor sooner rather than later. If there’s any language to learn now to future-proof your programming skills, this is it.
Ruby is already a firm favourite with start-ups and has been for quite some time. Even with some competitive rival languages joining its ranks, its popularity doesn’t seem to be waning. But should we just expect more of the same in 2017? Well, yes and no. Ruby is particularly suited to solo programmers and niche projects (hence why it was so popular with start-ups). And more and more programmers are choosing to make their living by freelancing or taking on… you guessed it, niche projects.
So if you’re planning a code-as-you-go career, want to set up your own programming or development business, or just want to take on some freelance work on the side, look no further than Ruby and join the ever-growing club.
Any good programmer already knows plenty about D. It has been around for well over a decade, has been utilised by web giants such as Facebook, and has built up a consistent and loyal following. So when Wired magazine ran an in-depth journalistic piece about it in 2014, most experts were wondering what the big deal was.
Everybody else however sat up and took notice. This under-the-radar system programming language has been steadily rising up the popularity ranks since that 2014 piece, and is considered by some to be the ‘little language that could’. It has a C-like syntax and static typing, and according to them combines ‘efficiency, control and modelling power with safety and programmer productivity’. D is about to hit the big time, trust us.
Take your time to comment on this article.