Questions tagged [programming-languages]

Artificial languages for instructing computers to do steps of computation in order to complete tasks. They allow programmers to communicate with computers.

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427
votes
33answers
303k views

How do I create my own programming language and a compiler for it [closed]

I am thorough with programming and have come across languages including BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, LISP, LOGO, Java, C++, C, MATLAB, Mathematica, Python, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, Assembly and so on. I can'...
307
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4answers
109k views

What software programming languages were used by the Soviet Union's space program?

I got interested in the Soviet space program and was interested to discover that the software on the Buran spacecraft circa 1988 was written in Prolog. Does anyone know what languages might have ...
290
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16answers
27k views

Grokking Java culture - why are things so heavy? What does it optimize for? [closed]

I used to code in Python a lot. Now, for work reasons, I code in Java. The projects I do are rather small, and possibly Python would work better, but there are valid non-engineering reasons to use ...
225
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9answers
72k views

Why do people hesitate to use Python 3?

Python 3 was released in December 2008. A lot of time has passed since then but still today many developers hesitate to use Python 3. Even popular frameworks like Django are not compatible with Python ...
184
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8answers
59k views

Is every language written in C?

Sometimes while programming in different languages (C/C++, C#), this thought comes to my mind: Is each and every language written in the C programming language? Is the C language the mother/father ...
166
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19answers
194k views

Is there any reason to use C++ instead of C, Perl, Python, etc.? [closed]

As a Linux (server side) developer, I don't know where and why should I use C++. When I'm going for performance, the first and last choice is C. When "performance" isn't the main issue, programming ...
162
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26answers
23k views

Is constantly looking for code examples a sign of a bad developer? [closed]

I am a CS student with several years of experience in C and C++, and for the last few years I've been constantly working with Java/Objective C doing app development and now I have switched to web ...
152
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7answers
26k views

Was the C programming language considered a low level language when it came out?

Currently C is considered a low level language, but back in the 70's was it considered low level? Was the term even in use then? Many popular higher level languages didn't exist until the mid 80's ...
147
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24answers
201k views

What are the drawbacks of Python? [closed]

Python seems all the rage these days, and not undeservingly - for it is truly a language with which one almost enjoys being given a new problem to solve. But, as a wise man once said (calling him a ...
140
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15answers
28k views

Why did memory-managed languages like Java, Javascript, and C# retain the `new` keyword?

The new keyword in languages like Java, Javascript, and C# creates a new instance of a class. This syntax seems to have been inherited from C++, where new is used specifically to allocate a new ...
135
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8answers
83k views

What does C++ do better than D?

I have recently been learning D and am starting to get some sort of familiarity with the language. I know what it offers, I don't yet know how to use everything, and I don't know much about D idioms ...
132
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14answers
19k views

Why are statements in many programming languages terminated by semicolons?

Is there a reason that a semi-colon was chosen as a line terminator instead of a different symbol? I want to know the history behind this decision, and hope the answers will lead to insights that may ...
128
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9answers
26k views

Is there any “real” reason multiple inheritance is hated?

I've always liked the idea of having multiple inheritance supported in a language. Most often though it's intentionally forgone, and the supposed "replacement" is interfaces. Interfaces simply do ...
122
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14answers
17k views

Why do most programming languages only support returning a single value from a function? [closed]

Is there a reason why functions in most(?) programming languages are designed to support any number of input parameters but only one return value? In most languages, it is possible to "work around" ...
117
votes
15answers
124k views

Is LISP still useful in today's world? Which version is most used?

I try to teach myself a new programming language in regular intervals of time. Recently, I've read how Lisp and its dialects are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from languages like C/C++, ...
116
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12answers
33k views

Why are multiple programming languages used in the development of one product or piece of software?

I am a recent grad student aiming to start my Master's in Computer Science. I have come across multiple open source projects that really intrigue me and encourage me to contribute to them (CloudStack, ...
114
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4answers
61k views

What operating systems are used in airplanes, and what programming languages are they developed in? [closed]

I was wondering if anyone knows what is the operating system used in commercial airplanes (say Boeing or Airbus). Also, what is the (preferred) real-time programing language? I heard that Ada is used ...
113
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14answers
24k views

What triggered the popularity of lambda functions in modern mainstream programming languages?

In the last few years anonymous functions (AKA lambda functions) have become a very popular language construct and almost every major / mainstream programming language has introduced them or is ...
106
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14answers
77k views

How can I really master a programming language?

I know that learning a language, you can simply buy a book, follow the examples, and whenever possible try the exercises. But what I'm really looking is how to master the language once you've learned ...
103
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5answers
86k views

Why were default and static methods added to interfaces in Java 8 when we already had abstract classes?

In Java 8, interfaces can contain implemented methods, static methods, and the so-called "default" methods (which the implementing classes do not need to override). In my (probably naive) view, there ...
102
votes
13answers
70k views

What can multiple threads do that a single thread cannot? [closed]

While threads can speed up execution of code, are they actually needed? Can every piece of code be done using a single thread or is there something that exists that can only be accomplished by using ...
100
votes
18answers
36k views

Why is verbosity bad for a programming language? [closed]

I have seen many people around complaining about verbosity in programming languages. I find that, within some bounds, the more verbose a programming language is, the better it is to understand. I ...
100
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14answers
65k views

Why are most browsers developed in C++ [closed]

It seems like most of common web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari) are developed using C++. Whys is that so?
99
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17answers
25k views

(Why) Should I learn a new programming language? [closed]

I'm quite proficient with Java, C/C++, JavaScript/jQuery and decently good at Objective-C. I'm quite productive with the languages and their corresponding frameworks too and do produce enterprise ...
98
votes
16answers
30k views

Why aren't user-defined operators more common?

One feature I miss in from functional languages is the idea that operators are just functions, so adding a custom operator is often as simple as adding a function. Many procedural languages allow ...
98
votes
3answers
47k views

Why do programming languages, especially C, use curly braces and not square ones?

The definition of "C-Style language" can practically be simplified down to "uses curly braces ({})." Why do we use that particular character (and why not something more reasonable, like [], which ...
96
votes
14answers
191k views

Is the C programming language still used?

I am a C# programmer, and most of my development is for websites along with a few Windows applications. As far as C goes, I haven't used it in a long time, as there was no need to. It came to me as a ...
95
votes
8answers
73k views

What is a “side effect?”

I haven’t clearly understood the concept of side effect. What is side effect in programming? Is it programming language dependent? Is there such a thing as external and internal side effects? Please ...
93
votes
108answers
198k views

Do people in non-English-speaking countries code in English? [closed]

I've heard it said (by coworkers) that everyone "codes in English" regardless of where they're from. I find that difficult to believe, however I wouldn't be surprised if, for most programming ...
92
votes
15answers
49k views

What makes C so popular in the age of OOP? [closed]

I code a lot in both C and C++, but did not expect C to be the second most popular language, slightly behind Java. TIOBE Programming Community Index I'm curious as to why, in this age of OOP, C is ...
91
votes
16answers
19k views

Do the young minds need to learn the pointer concepts?

Why did the C master Dennis Ritchie introduce pointers in C? And why did the other programming languages like VB.NET or Java or C# eliminate them? I have found some points in Google, and I want to ...
90
votes
8answers
12k views

How to modify the output of a program for which you don't have the source code

In our company we have a small program (.exe 500Kb size) that does mathematical calculation and in the end it spits out the result on a Excel spreadsheet that we use to continue our workflow. I want ...
89
votes
4answers
50k views

What's The Difference Between Imperative, Procedural and Structured Programming?

By researching around (books, Wikipedia, similar questions on SE, etc) I came to understand that Imperative programming is one of the major programming paradigms, where you describe a series of ...
88
votes
63answers
15k views

What features would you like to have in PHP? [closed]

Since it's the holiday season now and everybody's making wishes, I wonder - which language features you would wish PHP would have added? I am interested in some practical suggestions/wishes for the ...
86
votes
6answers
13k views

Why was Python's popularity so sudden? [closed]

Python first appeared in 1991, but it was somewhat unknown until 2004, if the TIOBE rankings quantify anything meaningful. What happened? What caused the interest in this 13 year old language to go ...
83
votes
13answers
12k views

Do objects in OOP have to represent an entity?

Does an object have to represent an entity? By an entity I mean something like a Product, Motor, a ParkingLot etc, a physical, or even a clear-cut non-physical conceptual object -- something that ...
83
votes
11answers
8k views

How can I make sure that I'm actually learning how to program rather than simply learning the details of a language? [closed]

I often hear that a real programmer can easily learn any language within a week. Languages are just tools for getting things done, I'm told. Programming is the ultimate skill that must be learned and ...
80
votes
11answers
14k views

Does programming in general become easier to read, write and understand as you gain experience? [closed]

I'm a beginner in programming and I've been reading books, studying, reading articles, and whatnot. I'm getting great results since I've started learning programming, and when I was a beginner I used ...
80
votes
11answers
33k views

Why is String immutable in Java?

I couldn't understand the reason of it. I always use String class like other developers, but when I modify the value of it, new instance of String created. What might be the reason of immutability ...
80
votes
5answers
146k views

Is Python Interpreted or Compiled?

This is just a wondering I had while reading about interpreted and compiled languages. Ruby is no doubt an interpreted language since the source code is processed by an interpreter at the point of ...
79
votes
7answers
82k views

What is early and late binding?

I keep hearing about early and late binding, but I do not understand what they are. I found the following explanation which I do not understand: Early binding refers to assignment of values to ...
73
votes
5answers
9k views

Is there a correlation between the scale of the project and the strictness of the language?

Explaining the difference between strictness of languages and paradigms to a colleague of mine, I ended up asserting that: Tolerant languages, such as dynamic and interpreted languages, are used best ...
70
votes
19answers
5k views

Has any language become greatly popular for something other than its intended purpose?

Take this scenario: A programmer creates a language to solve some problem. He then releases this language to help others solve problems like it. Another programmer discovers it's actually much better ...
70
votes
9answers
27k views

How were the first compilers made?

I always wonder this, and perhaps I need a good history lesson on programming languages. But since most compilers nowadays are made in C, how were the very first compilers made (AKA before C) or were ...
70
votes
7answers
29k views

Is this an assembly language?

In my childhood I used to program on an MK-61 Soviet calculator. It had four operating registers (X, Y, Z, T) and 15 storage registers. A program could have 105 steps. As I recall it, it had commands ...
69
votes
10answers
39k views

Why has C prevailed over Pascal? [closed]

My understanding is that in the 1980s, and perhaps in the 1990s too, Pascal and C were pretty much head-to-head as production languages. Is the ultimate demise of Pascal only due to Borland's neglect ...
69
votes
3answers
64k views

Sets Data Structure in Golang

I really like google golang but could some one explain what the rationale is for the implementors having left out a basic data structure such as sets from the standard library?
68
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10answers
17k views

Why do languages require parenthesis around expressions when used with “if” and “while”?

Languages like C, Java, and C++ all require parenthesis around an entire expression when used in an if, while, or switch. if (true) { // Do something } as opposed to if true { // Do ...
67
votes
8answers
15k views

How were some language communities (eg, Ruby and Python) able to prevent fragmentation while others (eg, Lisp or ML) were not?

The term "Lisp" (or "Lisp-like") is an umbrella for lots of different languages, such as Common Lisp, Scheme, and Arc. There is similar fragmentation in other language communities, like in ML. ...
67
votes
9answers
35k views

At what point can I say I've “learned” a language?

In my few years of programming, I've toyed with everything from Ruby to C++. I've done everything from just learning basic syntax (Ruby) to completing several major (for me) projects that stretched ...

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