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"Clinical Trials" For Programming Languages? 232

theodp writes "High school junior Charles Dawson's New Year resolution is to write a new program in different language each week. It's an ambitious project for someone of any age, and while it won't give him an in-depth appreciation of programming language differences, it'll certainly give him greater insight into the strengths of certain languages than would perusing the Hello World Wikipedia article. Lots of claims are made about the comparative productivity of programming languages, but have there been any landmark studies that measure the efficacy of a programming language's productivity claims in a 'clinical trial' of sorts? Would head-to-head tests against other languages be a better way of sorting out Popularity vs Productivity vs Performance claims, or is relying on more nebulous claims of superiority the best we can do?"
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"Clinical Trials" For Programming Languages?

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  • by MonkeyDancer (797523) on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:11PM (#45879207)

    If your using a programming language, but your language is not enough, then you should consult your doctor.
    Call your doctor if your application worsens, or if you have unusual changes in mood, behavior, or thoughts of suicide.
    See a doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, or having trouble swallowing.
    Some adverse affects are: diarrhea, seizures, and flatulence.

  • by glavenoid (636808) on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:16PM (#45879261) Journal

    PHP is unparalleled for people who want to make a webpage without having to understand HTTP.

    Or PHP for that matter...


  • Some key features of "gold standard" clinical trials: 1) large enough sample size to draw statistically significant conclusions; 2) real illnesses, not a simulated laboratory setting; 3) a double-blind control group; and 4) long enough duration to measure real-world outcomes.

    The programming-languages version would be to have teams randomly assigned to perform major (6+ month) programming projects in different languages, and then see their outcomes. For example, 40 game studios will continue to write their games in C++ as the control group, while you'll have the other 40 write them in Haskell. You probably want to iterate a few times as well to make sure that there's no first-game-in-a-new-language effect and to ensure that everyone is actually knowledgeable in the language being tested.

    Oh, and it should be blind, so neither the teams nor the researchers know which language they're using.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:20PM (#45879313)

    long flamewar

    To do this flamewar properly little Charlie Dawson should post his findings every week so we can keep this thing going until he finally realizes his dream of pissing off every programmer.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:23PM (#45879357)

    Master Po: The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler. The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages. Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao. But do not program in COBOL, Grasshopper, if you can avoid it.

    Grace Hopper: My name isn't Grasshopper, and I will program in whatever I want!

  • by alex67500 (1609333) on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:39PM (#45879557)

    It's only a flamewar until you agree that there are 2 types of programming languages:
    - Those everyone bitches about
    - And those nobody uses

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday January 06, 2014 @03:18PM (#45881131) Homepage

    pissing off every programmer.

    Well, everybody except LISP programmers ofcourse, as that will turn out to be the best language.

The star of riches is shining upon you.