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Perl Programming Ruby

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World 547

Nerval's Lobster writes As developers embrace new programming languages, older languages can go one of two ways: stay in use, despite fading popularity, or die out completely. So which programming languages are slated for history's dustbin of dead tech? Perl is an excellent candidate, especially considering how work on Perl6, framed as a complete revamp of the language, began work in 2000 and is still inching along in development. Ruby, Visual Basic.NET, and Object Pascal also top this list, despite their onetime popularity. Whether the result of development snafus or the industry simply veering in a direction that makes a particular language increasingly obsolete, time comes for all platforms at one point or another. Which programming languages do you think will do the way of the dinosaurs in coming years? With COBOL still around, it's hard to take too seriously the claim that Perl or Ruby is about to die. A prediction market for this kind of thing might yield a far different list.
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

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  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @10:59AM (#48102677)

    You shouldn't have made Perl and Ruby #1 and #2 respectively. Of course being on dice.com should have been enough.

    On the plus side, I didn't waste much time reading the rest of the BS.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @12:11PM (#48103523)
      Oh PROGRAMMING languages! I was in here looking for German.
      • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @07:35PM (#48107631)

        Hah! German will never die!!

        The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility.
        As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as "Euro-English".
        In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.
        There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.
        In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.
        By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.
        After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen world!

    • TFA is just plain wrong.

      Not just about Ruby (which is still among the top 10 popular languages, and shows absolutely no sign of fading), but also about Twitter.

      Twitter is a hodgepodge of languages, depending on just what "part" of Twitter you're talking about. For example, search is now done in Java. Some of the back-end is done in Scala. Etc.

      Further, when one of the Twitter founders decided to switch part of the system from Rails (which is not the same as "Ruby") to Scala, he did so because he did
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday October 09, 2014 @10:59AM (#48102679) Homepage Journal

    Some people like to make a big deal over languages dying, particularly if the language is one that they never really liked. I say, why make a fuss? Sure, some languages will decrease in popularity, but they're still there to use if you want, and there will always be a die-hard community of fans that keep it alive. Why hold a big whoop-de-doo circus to celebrate the ebb and flow of language popularity?

    • Sure, some languages will decrease in popularity, but they're still there to use if you want, and there will always be a die-hard community of fans that keep it alive.

      But that doesn't necessarily mean that skills in the language will help you put food on the table. For example, if one popular client platform requires that all programs be written in C#,* and another requires either Objective-C++ or Swift, and another requires Java,** and another requires JavaScript,*** then companies hiring programmers will disproportionately demand those languages.

      * The platforms I'm thinking of require verifiably type-safe CIL compatible with the .NET Compact Framework, which in prac

      • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 )

        Knowledge of a variety of programming languages, even if some of them are dead, will always help. Even if it's just in "I remember when Perl was still a thing" bragging competitions.

      • Or you just keep writing in C and rely on tools to create code in those bullshit languages for you, because who wants to define their career by the platform-du-jour? Sure, someone will have to know C#,Java,ObjC,Swift,JS, but not really that many people.

        This stuff would go away if we could just agree to boycott these things. Corporations know how to make products, they are absolutely terrible at creating anything that lasts.

    • Besides which, is there any language that is completely dead? Honest question.
    • There is actually one language that I can think of used to be popular and significant that is actually now dead: PL/M

      CP/M was written in PL/M (the OS that MS-DOS is based on.) Later versions of CP/M had most of the code rewritten in assembly for speed reasons. When Microsoft converted it from the 8080 to the 8086 for PCs after version 1.0 one of the things they focused on was replacing the remaining PL/M code with C code. It didn't take much time before MS-DOS was completely free of PL/M code.

      Fast forwar

  • by Terry Pearson ( 935552 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:00AM (#48102681) Journal
    Once a language is adopted by a large organization, it is almost impossible for it to go extinct. Just the way that larger companies tend to work, means that the language will exist in some form for decades. If I were to predict a language to go extinct, I would say that it has to be one that has not been widely adopted already, has not made its way to mainstream organizations, and basically reproduces what is already done by another, more popular, language.
    • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:55AM (#48103327)

      I agree to this.

      We have millions of dollars riding on perl scripts. Yeah, we want to move to python, but while we're on perl we're on perl. There's a lot you can do with maintenance and upgrading to better perl with better constructs.

      A language is not like a cellphone. We don't toss perl because the new iPhone is out next week. Perl doesn't fade. There's not a battery that will slowly begin not charging as deeply as time goes on. Perl remains perl. The problem domain doesn't radically shift month by month where we need a new language every month. What we have works.

  • Ruby? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:00AM (#48102683)

    His main complaints about Ruby seem to be that C programmers find it hard to use (because C is at the forefront of innovative computer languages, you know), and that Twitter has stopped using it (oh noes!).

    • And completely forgetting that both Puppet and Chef are both ruby based and not going anywhere. Rails may die.

  • by Beetle B. ( 516615 ) <beetle_b&email,com> on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:01AM (#48102691)

    I work in an engineering firm. There's so much legacy Perl out there that there'll be a need for it for at least another decade.

    As for VB, it'll remain as long as Microsoft Office is used in companies. It's way too handy and there's no alternative.

  • Ummm, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:01AM (#48102693)

    These languages may not be the "cool" languages at the moment, but to say they are "dead tech" (or even on their way) is classic hyperbole, and /.'s owner dice should be ashamed for soliciting ad views with this nonsense.

  • I suppose this is where I'm supposed to be indignant because the language I use got listed. But, I suppose it's fair. Ruby has always been one of the trendier languages, regardless of its utility.

    Really struggling to avoid defending it, though.

  • Perl? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:01AM (#48102699) Journal

    Perl 6 might be languishing in academia but in the meantime Perl 5 is chugging along nicely with bug fixes released regularly and CPAN [metacpan.org] content growing week over week. Not to mention Debian and BSD's heavy use of Perl in the base system.

    They can have my Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!

  • Flash (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by rujasu ( 3450319 )

    Also on the list: Adobe Flash. Please let them be correct about this. No more Flash. Anywhere. Ever.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      Flash is not a language. The language it uses - ActionScript - is an ECMA compliant scripting language, meaning it's essentially syntactically JavaScript.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      flash isn't a language, its a platform. the language that it uses is actionscript 3, which happens to be a decent language - object oriented, robust, mature, reasonably decent to work with. it has a few quirks, but i haven't met a language that didn't. the flash player is the issue - it's buggy and full of security holes. then, take the fact that Flash Pro allowed amateurs to create content that used machine generated code (which is rarely good), combine it with how ridiculously widespread the flash pla

    • Except for the fact that it is the best language to develop for mobile.

      Its a very easy language to write in compared to C/C++, and it ports to Android/iOS/Web/Desktop(Linux/Mac/Windows).

      The people in the know are writing cell phone/tablet aps in Adobe AIR now

      Its actually quicker, more efficient, and you get more done in it than if you tried to code natively in Android or iOS.

      Flash developers really have an unfair advantage to developing aps :) But you guys just keep saying its dying.
  • by Pro923 ( 1447307 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:04AM (#48102727)
    This is why I don't waste my time with Python. There will always be a latest and greatest scripting language to come along and replace the previous one. We all know that real code is written in C/C++, but it seems that in the corporate world this has been deemed too difficult to understand. The recent trend that I've noticed is to create your system from piles of scripted modules. Also, part of the complexity in C++ is self inflicted. Years ago, C++ code was like a more flexible C - but with cool objects that you could use to create flexible, inheritable objects. More recently, people have taken the whole template aspect to an extreme and it (in my opinion) has really screwed the whole thing up.
    • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @12:37PM (#48103809) Homepage

      ...I don't waste my time with Python. There will always be a latest and greatest scripting language to come along and replace the previous one.

      Maybe so, but Python is getting more popular and widely-used rather than dying out.

      IMHO Python hits the sweet spot: it's powerful and expressive, yet the code is readable and maintainable. The worst thing about Python is that it's pretty slow, but it has a vast library of extensions (written in C or even FORTRAN) and the extensions aren't slow. (Like, if you wrote your own FFT in Python it would be glacially slow, but you don't need to write your own FFT because fast ones are available... and if your program is mostly doing FFTs it will be nearly as fast as a C program, because the slow Python glue code isn't where the program spends most of its time.)

      In the world of science, everyone is converging on Python because of SciPy (which rocks). As people get fed up with legacy systems, they adopt Python as the replacement. I attended a keynote lecture at the SciPy conference a few years back, and a senior guy from the Hubble Space Telescope project talked about how they were leaving a language called IDL and switching to Python, and how much happier they were with Python.

      I have heard that the Ruby guys had a project to make a "SciRuby" but (a) progress was slow and (b) the science guys are already using SciPy and won't switch unless some really compelling advantage appears.

      Python is a clean, well-designed language that can have anything you need put in as an extension. So you can replace Matlab with Python and it's mostly a win. You can replace R with Python (and I think it's probably mostly a win, but I'm biased toward Python and have never seriously used R so feel free to ignore my opinion).

      Python can be used by sysadmins, web site developers, cloud app developers, scientific researchers... really almost everyone can do their work in Python, and they can talk to each other about it if they are all using the same language. That's not a trivial benefit.

      So, IMHO you would not be "wasting your time" to try actually using Python.

  • by Arakageeta ( 671142 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:05AM (#48102729)

    "Perl is an excellent candidate, especially considering how work on Perl6, framed as a complete revamp of the language, began work in 2000 and is still inching along in development."

    This does not imply that Perl is on its way out. I don't use the language myself (I despise it, personally), but I know many who use it on a daily basis. It is still a go-to language for many programmers (albeit, who may no longer be in their 20s) who need to quickly hack together a test harness for a larger system. It could merely be that Perl is "complete" for applications where it is useful. Further revision is no longer necessary.

    Also, I'd hardly say that C++ is on it's way out, even though C++11 took so long to be ratified.

    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @03:59PM (#48105903)

      It is still a go-to language for many programmers (albeit, who may no longer be in their 20s) who need to quickly hack together a test harness for a larger system. It could merely be that Perl is "complete" for applications where it is useful.

      Careful grasshopper. Ya, I'm 51 and have been using Perl since it was invented - along with Emacs. But Perl can be a go-to language for anyone, *even* those still in their 20s. I currently develop software that runs on Solaris/Unix, Linux and Windows using about 10 different programming languages and among all of them, Perl is the most useful (with Java second) for cross-platform things. We also use Python for some things, and it could probably replace Perl for others, but, seriously, why bother.

      Newer doesn't always mean better and old doesn't always mean obsolete.

  • Fortran: will live forever
    Cobol: ditto
    PL/1: probably a goner
    Pascal: is that still around?
    LISP: was already for hipsters only by the 80's
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      Pascal: Delphi still lives.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:26AM (#48103009) Homepage Journal

      Pascal was/is a much better language than Fortran or Cobol.
      I would be shocked if it completely died out.
      The one I wonder about is Java. It has sort of replaced Cobol as the language that you use to write programs that no one ever sees but will it keep that place now that Oracle bought it. I know that it is the language of choice for Android and that IBM and other people have their own JVMs but will Oracles lawyers kill it.

      • by rgbscan ( 321794 )

        I still hack around in Pascal from time to time. Kyan Pascal produces good results on my Apple IIe when I'm in the mood, and I dink around on System 7 from time to time on my old Quadra and all the libraries and toolkits for the Mac from back then are better supported in Pascal.

        I don't think it has any practical use nowadays, even with Lazarus out there, but it's still fun if you're into the vintage scene.

      • Pascal was/is a much better language than Fortran or Cobol.
        I would be shocked if it completely died out.
        The one I wonder about is Java. It has sort of replaced Cobol as the language that you use to write programs that no one ever sees but will it keep that place now that Oracle bought it. I know that it is the language of choice for Android and that IBM and other people have their own JVMs but will Oracles lawyers kill it.

        I'm not sure that you know FORTRAN or COBOL very well or you wouldn't be comparing them to Pascal.

        Pascal and, it's less popular cousin, Modula-2, were meant to be general purpose programming languages.

        FORTRAN is primarily a programming language mean for engineers and scientists because of built-in high precision mathematics. It's still quite popular in both fields.

        COBOL was designed to be a business language that accountants and business people could use to write reports, etc. Java did not replace COBOL,

      • Pascal was/is a much better language than Fortran or Cobol.
        I would be shocked if it completely died out.

        Me too. Especially since I've been contributing for 17 years to the Free Pascal Compiler [freepascal.org], and it supports more platforms than ever. I also don't see any particular declines in our download statistics or the bug reporting rate. Whether Borland-Inprise-CodeGear-Embarcadero Delphi will survive, that's another question. If they'd disappear, that would however be unfortunate for us too though, since many of our users use both products (Delphi for its polish and commercial support, ours for the multi-platform support).

      • Java is going nowhere. In addition to being in most phones (Android, Jave ME), it is in every Blu-Ray player (BD-J), every cable box (OCAP), cash registers, ATMs and voting machines. And that isn't even touching on enterprise, web and desktop applications.

        Take a look at most language rankings and Java remains near or at the top, whether you look at Tiobe, PyPL, RedMonk, IEEE Spectrum, or the various job surveys published by the likes of Dice.com and eWeek.

  • by MiniMike ( 234881 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:09AM (#48102765)

    With COBOL still around, it's hard to take too seriously the claim that Perl or Ruby is about to die.

    Why would you make that assumption? Have Perl or Ruby been suggested as replacements for COBOL? Is the future usefulness of a language based inversely on age? I'm not seeing the direct connection between the lifespans of COBOL, Perl, and Ruby.

    Also, how can they not mention FORTRAN in the article? No self respecting article on the topic of "soon to be dead programming languages" in the last 30 years has failed to mention FORTRAN. I see it as a staple of these articles for years to come.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      Nah, not Fortran. It is still widely used. Often linked into R or Mathematica applications. And Fortran 2008 is OO and natively supports parallel processing. When time and huge data sets need to be crunched it is the best tool for the job.Can Java or C# do all that? Data analytics anyone? Geological modeling anyone? Fluid modeling, perhaps used for wind turbines? Or maybe weather modeling?

      All good problem domains for a fast lean language.

  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:11AM (#48102795) Homepage

    That is not dead which can eternal lie, in unmaintained hardware burried deep in your organization.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:16AM (#48102877) Homepage
    Languages die when people stop using them, not when they cease to be 'hot'.

    Look at human languages. They die when the last person speaking them dies. What makes anyone think computer languages are different?

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @05:43PM (#48106857)
      Well, there are actually multiple levels of human language death.
      1. Extinct - No living speakers.
      2. Dead - Perhaps still known, but no longer used in general conversation
      3. Pseudoextinct - No living speakers, but there are speakers of a child language
      4. Moribund - Speakers are shifting to other languages. Nobody new is learning it.

      IMHO, most supposed "dead" computer languages are in actuality barely even moribund by the above definitions. There are some pseudoextinct languages though. K&R C would probably be a good example.

  • Before making a prediction, you have to define "death". If it's the complete absence of users of the language, then the answer is easy: no language ever dies. There'll always be somebody in some obscure corner of the planet who'll know and use it from time to time.
  • by markhb ( 11721 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:18AM (#48102911) Journal

    From TFA:

    Microsoft’s long love of the BASIC programming language extends all the way back to 1991, when the company purchased a pretty awesome (for its time) visual programming designer from Alan Cooper.

    I'd say that MS's love of BASIC goes back at least a decade before that; they wrote the ROM BASIC for the TRS-80 (as I found when doing a PEEK scan through it).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by operagost ( 62405 )
      It is a pretty ridiculous statement, considering that the BASICs for most early PCs and home computers came from Microsoft.
    • by tadas ( 34825 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:33AM (#48103081)

      I'd say that MS's love of BASIC goes back at least a decade before that; they wrote the ROM BASIC for the TRS-80 (as I found when doing a PEEK scan through it).

      Umm.. try 1975, when Harvard dropout Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen wrote a BASIC interpreter for the Altair, the first microcomputer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_BASIC/ [wikipedia.org]

    • Microsoft's Very First product, written before Bill Gates even dropped out of college, was BASIC for the Altair 8k. This dates it back to '75.

  • by Blackknight ( 25168 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:19AM (#48102917) Homepage

    I think it's pretty safe to say that we can dismiss claims that perl is dying as pure rubbish. Sure, the language isn't as trendy as ruby or whatever the new hotness is but it's still a language that is used by thousands of companies and applications every day and will continue to be used for quite some time.

  • by Somebody Is Using My ( 985418 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:23AM (#48102983) Homepage

    Here are the dead and dying languages

    1) Perl - because it's a "piecemeal" language with features pile atop one another
    2) Ruby - because its difficult to learn if you know C
    3) Visual Basic.Net - because C#
    4) Adobe Flash & AIR - because iPhone
    5) Delphi Object Pascal - because it isn't well-supported

    Now you don't need to read the article

  • I've heard that Latin is a "dead" language, but people refer to it all the time, and even act smug if they know it!
    • Perl in Latin (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:46AM (#48103227)

      Lingua::Romana::Perligata -- Perl for the XXI-imum Century

      http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~damian/papers/HTML/Perligata.html
      Abstract
      This paper describes a Perl module -- Lingua::Romana::Perligata -- that makes it possible to write Perl programs in Latin. A plausible rationale for wanting to do such a thing is provided, along with a comprehensive overview of the syntax and semantics of Latinized Perl. The paper also explains the special source filtering and parsing techniques required to efficiently interpret a programming language in which the syntax is (largely) non-positional.

  • Too bad. It was the most terse language ever created.
  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @11:29AM (#48103037)
    What we'd want to see is a ranking of languages by "new project starts" utilizing that language. There's still COBOL around but how many new projects are started that use COBOL? Etc. I suspect few people starting a project today that requires a Perl-like language would actually choose Perl unless they were already a Perl expert and it was definitely going to be a one-man job. They'd choose Python/Ruby/PHP instead. So, in that sense, Perl is dead.
  • A language dies when there are no longer programmers who are able to code in it. The langauge literally dies as people retire and die off. Well documented languages that are simple to learn will never die. COBAL is dying as a useful language as new programmers stop learning it and people retire. Economics still provide enough incentive for people to learn the language so it is dying slowly. They things listed at the top are still on peoples resumes. So they are not dying
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @12:10PM (#48103511)
    The purpose of the article is to make dice.com (/.'s owner) appear to be a place where people can go to read articles about job skills and such.

    .
    The purpose of the article is not to convey any manner of knowledge on the subject.

    It's chewing gum for the job seeker, no more, no less.

  • Apple Pilot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @12:15PM (#48103575) Homepage Journal

    Apple Pilot is dead. It's so dead that a Google search for "apple pilot" brings up nothing related.
    Google for "apple pilot language" and the first hit is an Apple II history page.

    It deserved to die, but it's not just dead, it's erased from the internet, but not completely [wikipedia.org]
     

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @01:36PM (#48104457)

    There is no useful or objective information anywhere in the article it is all childish name calling and appealing to what the cool kids are doing.

    TFA is what I hate about this industry too many people have their heads in what's cool and getting suckered by marketeers rather than thinking about what they are doing and investing necessary effort to research and arrive based on objective criteria the best tool to get the job done.

  • by jlv ( 5619 ) on Thursday October 09, 2014 @01:59PM (#48104649)

    A sample of the writing in the article:

    "Perl, which works as a CGI scripting language, found its most popular use in generating Web pages."

    Clueless drivel.

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