Dynamic programming futures

JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and other dynamic languages are remaking the Web and bringing programming to the masses. Where should developers place their bets?

When a decision must be made, some believe it makes sense to go with popularity. The rich will get richer. PHP is the first language that many people learn after mastering HTML, and it will always be as comfortable as a childhood home. PHP server platforms from Zend Technologies offer better performance, making it possible to write a serious application in the language.

But will PHP be able to shake the casual structure that encourages beginners to whip up spaghetti code? Will it be able to continue to mix the presentation layer and the application layer without driving everyone insane? Will Zend's collection of server optimizations provide enough performance to overcome any limitations of the language?

Others suggest that developer passion will produce the dominant language. Perl and Python attract some of the smartest minds who see programming as a craft. Their insight and devotion to creating elegant solutions is bound to produce a great platform in two years.

Hearts and minds

The same credibility with programming hipsters, however, can scare away the bulk of programmers and limit a language to a niche. This isn't fatal, but it can come close if the masses flock to something simpler. The cool library writers can follow demand.

Some want to place their bets on Ruby on Rails, a striking and elegant solution that produces sophisticated results in no time. A few lines of code produce a full interface with all of the pages necessary to create, update, and delete records.

This simplicity often turns into shackles when the programmers reach the edge of the framework's capabilities. Changing little details or producing slightly unorthodox output can be maddening.

There are many other options. Some developers love Groovy, the dynamic language integrated with the Java API. A programmer gets the rock-solid foundation of compiled Java code mixed with the flexibility to diddle with the Java objects in real time.

And then there are others who see languages such as JavaScript rising from the browser and colonizing the server. A unified platform makes everything simpler. Yes, Netscape wanted this to happen years ago, but thanks to the lightning performance of the new JavaScript semi-compilers, the language is bound to look even more attractive.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags software developmentperlprogramming

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Wayner

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?