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Programming PHP

Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond) 315

Nerval's Lobster writes: Over at Dice, there's a breakdown of the programming languages that could prove most popular over the next year or two, including Apple's Swift, JavaScript, CSS3, and PHP. But perhaps the most interesting entry on the list is Erlang, an older language invented in 1986 by engineers at Ericsson. It was originally intended to be used specifically for telecommunications needs, but has since evolved into a general-purpose language, and found a home in cloud-based, high-performance computing when concurrency is needed. "There aren't a lot of Erlang jobs out there," writes developer Jeff Cogswell. "However, if you do master it (and I mean master it, not just learn a bit about it), then you'll probably land a really good job. That's the trade-off: You'll have to devote a lot of energy into it. But if you do, the payoffs could be high." And while the rest of the featured languages are no-brainers with regard to popularity, it's an open question how long it might take Swift to become popular, given how hard Apple will push it as the language for developing on iOS.
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Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

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  • Over at Dice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `nhojovadle'> on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @03:47PM (#47560113) Journal

    Over at Dice

    But we are at Dice, sir [whois.net]:

    [Querying whois.publicinterestregistry.net]
    Domain Name:SLASHDOT.ORG
    Domain ID: D2289308-LROR
    Creation Date: 1997-10-05T04:00:00Z
    Updated Date: 2014-03-14T22:12:11Z
    Registry Expiry Date: 2015-10-04T04:00:00Z
    Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
    Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 69
    WHOIS Server:

    Referral URL:
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
    Registrant ID:tuE8gFbzWFO9qSj2
    Registrant Name:Host Master
    Registrant Organization:Dice Holdings, Inc.
    Registrant Street: 1040 Avenue of the Americas
    Registrant City:New York
    Registrant State/Province:NY
    Registrant Postal Code:10018
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.8557527436
    Registrant Phone Ext:
    Registrant Fax:
    Registrant Fax Ext:
    Registrant Email:hostmaster@slashdotmedia.com

    Pros: Today's article has more content than the usual Dice front page linkage. Great article if you're not a programmer but feel stymied by the wide assortment of languages out there. Although instead of hemming and hawing before making your first project you're better off listening to Winston Churchill and sticking your feet in the mud: "The maxim 'Nothing avails but perfection' may be spelt shorter -- 'Paralysis."

    Cons: It barely scratches the surface of an incredibly deep topic with unlimited facets. And when one is considering investing potential technical debt into a technology, this probably wouldn't even suffice as an introduction let alone table of contents. Words spent on anecdotes ("In 2004, a coworker of mine referred to it as a 'toy language.'" like, lol no way bro!) could have been better spent on things like Lambdas in Java 8. Most interesting on the list is Erlang? Seems to be more of a random addition that could just as easily been Scala, Ruby, Groovy, Clojure, Dart -- whatever the cool hip thing it is we're playing with today but doesn't seem to quite pan out on a massive scale ...

  • Repeat after me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeNut ( 85398 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @03:48PM (#47560119) Homepage

    CSS3 is not a programming language. No more then HTML is.

    • The ML in HTML is for markup language. I think you splitting hairs if you think programming language does not include markup langauge.
      • No he is not splitting hairs.
        Make me an HTML page that calculates 1 + 1 ... and you will realize: you can not program in HTML, hence it is not a programming language, actually pointing out that ML means 'mark up language' already should made have that clear to you.

        • [html] [header] A page that calculates 1 + 1! [/header] [body] [center] 1 + 1 = 2 [br] [a href="goatse"]click for source[/a] [/center] [/body] [/html]
      • He's not splitting hairs...

        HTML doesn’t really “do” anything in the sense that a programming language does. HTML contains no programming logic. It doesn’t have common conditional statements such as If/Else. It can’t evaluate expressions or do any math. It doesn’t handle events or carry out tasks. You can’t declare variables and you can’t write functions. It doesn’t modify or manipulate data in any way. HTML can’t take input and produce output. T
      • Of course programming language does not include markup language. They're two entirely different things with entirelly different purposes.

    • date_default_timezone_set(‘America/Los_Angeles’);

      Since when is ‘America/Los_Angeles’ a time zone?
    • by iguana ( 8083 ) *

      Obligatory Programmer Hierarchy image: http://lukewelling.com/wp-cont... [lukewelling.com]

      From: http://lukewelling.com/2006/08... [lukewelling.com]

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      CSS3 is not a programming language. No more then HTML is.

      True. But for a non-programming language, it somehow manages to present an awful lot of thorny debugging problems ;-)

  • by Laz10 ( 708792 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @03:56PM (#47560203)

    I am surprised that Scala isn't mentioned.

    It is strongly typed, object-functional and compatible with java.

    Swift syntax is basically a cut and paste from Scala, which benefits from being more mature (and having access to all the Java libraries)
    Scala is also much faster than erlang, while also supporting the actor based model.

    http://www.scala-lang.org/ [scala-lang.org]

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @03:57PM (#47560207) Homepage

    Learn C++, Java or C# and get yourself a job at a big corporate.

    But hey, if you want to be a hipster coder and dick about all day doing "groovy" websites at some here today gone tommorow startup and earning fuck all by all means go down the web development route along with every other 14 year old school kid.

    Erlang? Nice language but too niche. Never really got momentum outside telecoms and its probably too late for it now.

    • That's terrible advice. If you want the big bucks, get into Python, Node.js, or Go and find a startup that just received VC and has tons of money to shove at developers. C++, Java, and C# are great for long-term "comfortable" jobs, but that's not where the seriously good money is.

      • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:43PM (#47560619) Journal

        Developers in start ups usually are bad paid and baited with stock options.

      • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:44PM (#47560629) Homepage

        That's terrible advice. If you want the big bucks, get into Python, Node.js, or Go and find a startup that just received VC and has tons of money to shove at developers. C++, Java, and C# are great for long-term "comfortable" jobs, but that's not where the seriously good money is.

        Terrible advice also. If you want the big bucks, know your shit in several domains, know how to deliver your shit and be good at analytic skills, troubleshooting, design, architecture and project management.

        The VC route is a high-stakes one. For each one that cashes it, there are droves that lick their wounds, specially outside of SV.

        Going back to languages, no language guarantees good income, not even comfortable jobs. Being able to deliver shit on time, and have deep expertise on something (say, Oracle Enterprise stack, or embedded development), that's where the sweet spot is, meaning, potential to make close to $200K or more, for years, if not decades. Long hours as a consultant, but the rewards are there, and are more predictable and solid than shooting at the VC/startup stars.

      • Where do you live that startups pay ridiculously good money? Most of the startups I've seen pay mediocre at best and provide compensation in the forms of promises that you'll be rewarded when the company "makes it big". If you want great money, medium-sized businesses are the way to go right now. They're stable and they tend to focus on taking care of their employees. It used to be the case that large corporations offered the best compensation, but many are still feeling the effects of the market crash
        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          The thing is, startups pay lousy money, but sometimes you get compensated in stock options, or even stock, and sometimes that stock turns out to be worth a lot later. Granted it's a crap shoot, but there's no safe way to make lots of money unless you already have lots of money, and even then it's not certain.

          • True, but approximately 90% of businesses fail within the first three years. Unfortunately, I can't pay my mortgage in stock that's worth less than toilet paper.
    • You can earn small bucks with Java being a code monkey for a corporation as well.
    • Not that I'm knocking "earning big bucks", but it always kinda pisses me off that people talk about compuer programming or a certain type of programming as being especially lucrative, as if that should be some sort of aspiration in life. It certainly pays better than a lot of other jobs that I've had, but how much money you can earn is a pretty shallow metric for success, if you ask me.
      • Not that I'm knocking "earning big bucks", but it always kinda pisses me off that people talk about compuer programming or a certain type of programming as being especially lucrative, as if that should be some sort of aspiration in life. It certainly pays better than a lot of other jobs that I've had, but how much money you can earn is a pretty shallow metric for success, if you ask me.

        Sure, self actualization is probably what really makes people happy, but as far as metrics go it's crappy. Money is quantifiable, thus it's one of the best metrics.

    • by Algan ( 20532 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @09:12PM (#47562545)

      Been doing Erlang for the past 6 years. It is a small niche but the number of people who are really good is minuscule, much less than the demand. As a consequence, I get hit by recruiters for Erlang-related jobs every couple of weeks, with no advertising on my part other than my linked-in page. Looks like the biggest obstacle for the wider adoption of Erlang is the limited number of talent. Lots of companies would like to get into it, but are afraid they won't be able to attract people.

  • I don't... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bumba2014 ( 3564161 )
    Who cares about a fucking language. I know more that 20 different programming languages, I don't care about one more or less. What can it do, that I can't do already ? Can I program faster, or better? Or is it just an other syntax, for some obscure system ?
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      If you knew 20 languages you would know there are real differences between where they excel.

      • I would have said 15 languages. Yes, there are differences, but not enough to justify so many different languages. Everybody has to make up their own freakin' language because that's where the entertainment value is, and that's what they thought their computer science degree entitled them to do. If we had a few less languages and a few more well-designed libraries and/or extensions that worked consistently, then maybe we could make more progress with static analysis and optimization tools. And maybe we c
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:05PM (#47560307)

    Please, no more Erlang world domination news.

    I went through that 3 years ago already. We had a project that a fanatic asked us to rewrite in Erlang.
    it took 9 months with 2.5 people.

    Tons of issues, mostly with very lacking library support, tooling. Obnoxious stuck up community too.
    In one case, I had a guy tell me online "hire me as an Erlang consultant and then I will help you".

    In the end we set screw it (once the Erlang fanatic left).
    We rewrote this 9 months of Erlang development in 3 weeks (!) using one senior Java developer.

    it worked like a charm and still runs flawlessly in production today.

    Erlang = HYPE

    Everything is immutable is beautiful for fairy tales, but not for real-life software (trying building a DOM in a language which is 100% immutable).

    All modern languages have learned from Erlang's mistake. They do immutable by default, but allow mutable if there is a need for it (e.g. Ceylon, Rust, etc)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      We rewrote this 9 months of Erlang development in 3 weeks (!) using one senior Java developer. it worked like a charm and still runs flawlessly in production today.

      Then your project was a very poor fit for Erlang in the first place.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's the feeling I got form the original post to begin with. That the Erlang fanatic was basically applying this antipattern:

        Golden Hammer
        http://sourcemaking.com/antipa... [sourcemaking.com]

        Which is a problem rife within our industry...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Erlang is pretty cool for the intended application scenarios. It is not really a general-purpose language. If you need, for example, excellent crash-proofness, updates to running code and massive multi-threading, Erlang is what you want to use. (Ever tried to run 1000 threads in Java? I know people who did, for this Java is a completely unusable toy...)

      The second problem is that Erlang is decidedly experts-only. Real understanding of advanced programing concepts is mandatory. Don't even think about doing an

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Tons of issues, mostly with very lacking library support, tooling.

      Agreed -- not that I know about about Erlang in particular, but library availability, maturity, (and cost) while not a reflection of the language design itself are HUGE factors in whether or not a given project is practical in that language.

      In one case, I had a guy tell me online "hire me as an Erlang consultant and then I will help you".

      Pretty sure you can find an example of THAT guy in ANY community.

      We rewrote this 9 months of Erlang develo

  • Web = Garbage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Suiggy ( 1544213 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:05PM (#47560309)

    Next year, the languages you'll need will still be C, C++ and Java. Maybe some C#, Python or Bash. The year after that, you'll still be using C, C++, and Java. Maybe some C#, Python or Bash.

    By 2020, the main difference is that you'll be working with machine-learning DSLs and libraries to program/train memristor based devices. But you'll still be using C, C++, and Java. Maybe some C#, Python or Bash.

  • When you write code and declare a variable, dynamic languages let you change the type of data held by the variable when the program is running; those languages that don’t are known as “static” or “strongly typed.” Languages such as C++ and Java are strongly-typed languages, while JavaScript, PHP, and Perl are dynamic languages.

    "Staticness" and "strongness" are orthogonal properties. Python, for instance, has strongly typed values (you can't convince an int that it's a str), but dynamic variables (a=123;a='foo' is valid). And while C++ is statically typed, I'd be hard pressed to describe something with void* and unions as strongly typed.

    TL;DR: Words have meaning. It's OK to disagree about whether a particular language is strongly or weakly typed, but it's not OK to claim that two different concepts are the same thing. When you mak

    • Not only that, if you have a variable of a non-final class type or interface type in Java, you can also "change the type of data held by the variable when the program is running". E.g, without this property, it would be difficult to process items of polymorphic collections (i.e., collections allowing items of multiple types/representations simultaneously, which in Java happens to be the case of all collections, of course).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Heh, even if you have a variable that *IS* final, you can *STILL* change it's value at runtime.

        Java doesn't enforce final at the bytecode level.... It's a compile-time hint and the values can still be modified at runtime.

        It's one of the main differing qualities of C++ vs Java. Const is enforced much more than "Final" in Java.

        Also C++ templates aren't by-default type-erased like Java's generics. But in C++ type-erasure is a pattern that I can choose to use or not.

        Lately I do work that garbage collection simp

    • And the whole riff about GC. It makes out like it's superior in all cases.

      It does mention refcounting as a subset [which perl does just fine with]. But, even with GC/refcount, you still have to break cyclic links in a tree (e.g. parent node has a list of children and each child points to its parent) when you're done or it will never GC. Also, sometimes you have to do something explicit to release resources (e.g. files) at a given time, rather than some arbitrary time later.

      Further, GC is the bane of anyt

    • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @05:39PM (#47561139) Homepage
      So much fail about Garbage Collection.

      GC is not about forgetting to free memory. It's about higher level abstraction removing the need for the programmer to do the bookkeeping that the machine can do. Why don't we still program in assembler? Because it's less productive. It's about productivity. As data structures become extremely complex, and get modified over time, keeping track of the ownership responsibility of who is supposed to dispose of what becomes difficult to impossible, and is the source of memory leak bugs. In complex enough programs, you end up re-inventing a poor GC when you could have used one that is the product of decades of research.

      The article fails to understand that you can also run out of memory in a program using GC. Just keep allocating stuff without and keeping references to everything you allocate.

      Reference Counting is not real GC. Cyclical data structures will never get freed using reference counting.

      One of the major, but under-recognized benefits of GC, which the article fails to mention, is that GC allows much simpler ''contracts' in APIs. No longer is memory management part of the 'contract' of an API. It doesn't matter which library or function created an object, nobody needs to worry about who is responsible for disposing of that object. When nobody references the object any more, the GC can gobble it up.

      On the subject of Virtual Machines, the article could mention some of the highly aggressive compilation techniques used in JIT compilers. So every method in Java is a virtual call. But a JIT compiler knows when there is only one subclass that implements a particular method and makes all calls to the method non-virtual. If another subclass is loaded (or dynamically created on the fly) the JIT can recompile all methods that call the method such that they are now virtual calls. Yet still, the JIT may be able to prove that certain calls are always and only to a specific subclass, and so they can be non-virtual.

      The JIT compiler in JVM can aggressively inline small functions. But if a class gets reloaded on the fly such an the body of an inlined method changed, the JIT will know to recompile every other method that inlined the changed method. Based on the changes to the method, it may or may not now make sense to inline it -- so the decision on whether to inline the method can change based on actual need.

      The HotSpot JVM dynamically profiles code and doesn't waste time and memory compiling methods that do not have any significant effect on the system's overall performance. The profiling can vary depending on factors that vary from system to system, and could not be predicted in advance when using a static compiler. The JIT compiler can compile your method using instructions that happen to exist on the current microprocessor at runtime -- something that could not be determined in advance with a static compiler.

      All of this may seem very complex. But it's why big Java systems run so darn fast. Not very many languages can have tens or even hundreds of gigabytes (yes GB) of heap with GC pause times of 10 ms. Yes, it may need six times the amount of memory, but for the overall benefits of speed, the cost of memory is cheap.
  • by clifwlkr ( 614327 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:17PM (#47560397)
    Or how about learn about the fundamentals of computer science. Actually learn what pointers are, pass by reference, multi-threading, type safety, and all of the things that implies. Then express those in whatever language you want. If you truly understand how computers and languages work, and what an enterprise system is composed of, you will likely have future proofed your career. If your language doesn't support many of those ( I am looking at you, JavaScript), then perhaps consider how much those jobs are likely to pay in the long run....
    • 1) Learn Oberon (with concurrency extensions, say, Active Oberon). 2) Achieve enlightenment. ... I can't tell you how to get to the "X) Profit!" part, though. ;)
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Just a minor nitpick. Pointers are an implementation detail, not a computer science fundamental prinicple.
  • by AlreadyStarted ( 523251 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:32PM (#47560509)

    Swift is a strongly-typed language, that operates inside a runtime with garbage collection.

    There is no GC in iOS. Also the GC in OS X is deprecated. Swift uses Automatic Reference Counting which is something... completely different.

  • Next year, unless you are at the bottom of the skill and payment pyramid, you will need C and derivatives (C++, Objective C) and maybe Python or Perl.

  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:41PM (#47560601) Homepage

    CSS/JavaScript/HTML5 is plainly obvious. Everything from Microsoft to mobile hybrid development relies on this these days.

    C# is the standard language of the Microsoft stack --- in fact, the bulk of MS-stack training is in C#, with only a smattering in VB.NET.

    Java is the COBOL of the early 21st Century. It isn't sexy anymore but it will always be around.

    PHP is used in a lot of web applications. I wish it weren't. In fact, I'd really rather see Ruby on Rails take over this space.

    If you're going to program native code, you could learn Swift, sure. You could also learn Rust [cnet.com] (Mozilla's systems-level language with significant buy-in from Samsung) for device programming. If your goal is to write native apps, your best bet for Android is actually Java. By the way, one can also design native apps in Java (the code is Swing-like) and compile them to native apps for iOS or Android using Codename One [codenameone.com], and I imagine a few shops will pick up that practice.

    I like Erlang as an honorable mention. I'd also add two others: Python (especially for data analysis) and PowerShell (which will set the grown-up Microsoft sysadmins from the point-and-click kids).

    • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @05:23PM (#47560993)

      Trust me, from a guy who's dealt with COBOL and Java, they're nothing alike in either corporate philosophy or boat-anchor of coding. For better or worse, Java and C# are essentially analogs in terms of what you can 'do' with them. Java sucks more in UI's, and some syntactic sugar that makes your life easier, and C#/.NET lacks the trillion toolkits used in Java for pretty much any common need. Many popular Java lib's are ported to .Net, but still a boat load you'll only find in Java land for now. Lets not labor the point. There will be a millions fan boys to jump on the point, but on a language stand point, they're so close that it shouldn't matter.

      PHP is a simple language for beginners and it got its entrenched status because some novice PHP dev's wrote some great sites / tools which people have organically grown around. Its a lousy language, and a very specific use case. I've never used RoR, but sounds about the same but in a more sexy buzz word.

      Erlang like all functional languages universally are very useful for their very limited number of business areas where they rock, and enevitably the evangelists of these languages always trump out how they're great for everything and the kitchen sink, but we all know they aren't, and will continually be relegated to areas where they shine. Hybrids like Scala have a chance, but frankly I'd hate to sit down and listen to a dev lead's meeting in a scala shop lay down the laws on when to use strictly functional no matter how broken it makes the code, and when to just use other paradigms that probably just work better, simpler, and faster to develop.

  • by Damouze ( 766305 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @04:46PM (#47560645)

    C. Plain old C.

    Entire Operating Systems are written in it. Userland tools for those operating systems are usually written in it. Any self-respecting developer knows at least C. The rest is just like fashion tips: next year they're outdated.

    Although, as much as I hate to admit it, the same could be said for Java...

    • I wish it were Pascal. Or at least some decent extensions, and some *real* macros, updating C. And maybe a little learning from history: I could do things in IBM Assembler macros in the 1970s that you still can't do in C++ templates. We spent too much time being cool and iconoclastic and "new" that we threw out the good with the bad - except C, which has hung around forever and you STILL don't know how big your values are.
    • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @05:46PM (#47561191) Homepage
      Entire operating systems are written in C -- as they should be.

      But C is a low level language. Not the best tool for writing applications.

      Higher level languages and managed runtime systems have gained so much traction for a reason. They are very productive to use. They protect you from simple mistakes. The relieve the burden of memory management. GC simplifies library APIs by making the question of who should dispose of what become irrelevant. We could still be programming in assembly language instead of C. Why aren't we? Why aren't OSes written in assembly? Because C is more productive and higher level. Similarly, there are higher level languages than C, and they have their place. C is not the end all of abstraction.
  • PHP is forecast to be very popular going forward. That means your employment prospects are good!

  • With Flash you can make: Destop/Web/Android phone+tablet/ios phone+tablet all in the same code!

    Flash is a lot like C/C++ and Java, except it allows you to a couple things easier.

    I think of all the languages though, Java has to be the winner. It has about the power of C/C++, except you don't need to dot the is and cross the ts. Java is superior to C/C++ in strings, garbage collection and arrays. For most projects you'd take code that has less bugs in it and develops faster than code that executes a sl
  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @05:07PM (#47560839) Homepage Journal

    I spent over two years working every day with Erlang on a project, and I still don't consider myself to be anywhere near an "expert" at the language. It's just too weird and special case for a lot of the functionality I was trying to code, so while certain tasks were easier than they would have been in Java or another procedural-object language, others were damned near impossible and took obscene amounts of time to get working at all -- never mind working efficiently.

    Personally I'd avoid it like the plague unless you have some special case need for it's features. Even with regards to concurrency, it's not really any better than any other language's concurrency features. They aren't really baked into the language as the summary suggests, but provided by frameworks in the API libraries, much as they are by other languages.

    The main difference with Erlang concurrency is that the concurrent models are the "normal" way to program Erlang, so you're likely to find a lot of good examples of how to do it. I've found the documentation for other language's concurrency features to be somewhat limited in comparison, and less "real world" in their examples.

    The main thing that I found neat about the Erlang framework was the ability to specify auto-restarts of failed threads. It takes all of about 4 lines of configuration to get a thread to be persistent/self-starting. That's the densest code I've ever seen for achieving such a task.

    The big downside to Erlang is that it's almost as bad as LISP -- everything is a list. Even "structures" are just lists of objects with tags that identify the list indices for accessing the members. Be prepared for a nightmare of tail recursion if you get into this field of programming.

    That said, it can be a fun and entertaining language to work with. For the things it is good at, it can be a joy to use. Much as with any language.

  • by mothlos ( 832302 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @05:12PM (#47560887)
    As long as we are hyping Erlang, the Erlang community is getting some disruption from a language developed by a prominent Rubyist called Elixir [elixir-lang.org]. Clojure-inspired metaprogramming, a Ruby-ish syntax, and it all compiles down to the same VM code that Erlang compiles into.
    • As a long time Erlang proponent I'm finding that Elixir is an easier sell (admitting to liking Erlang's syntax can bring conversation to a standstill) and no less useful. Really a delightful language to work in.

  • by cforciea ( 1926392 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @05:45PM (#47561177)

    A functional language is one whereby the functions themselves can be stored in variables and passed around as parameters to other languages.

    What in the actual fuck. That may be the worst definition of a functional language I've ever heard. Even if I try to interpret it as something that could make any sort of sense, I just get that storing functions in variables makes a language functional, which the author goes on to debunk by pointing out that C++ isn't a functional language. Why bother even trying to describe them if you have no idea what the hell they are?

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