A Microsoft Professional Developers Conference panel on the future of programming languages looks at what is on programmers' minds. The PDC panel of experts debates what's best for programmers and languages.
LOS ANGELES-What are some of the most pressing issues facing developers
today, and what can be done with programming languages to help with them?
Those were among the questions posed to a group of language and programming
experts at the Microsoft PDC (Professional
Developers Conference) here.
Gilad Bracha, Anders Hejlsberg, Douglas Crockford, Wolfram Schulte and
Jeremy Siek made up the distinguished panel of computer language designers and
researchers addressing "The Future of Programming Languages." And the
moderator was no slouch either. Erik Meijer, a Microsoft software architect and
language expert in his own right, moderated the panel. Meijer was influential
in the evolution of the Haskell language and is the leader of Microsoft's "Volta"
project to simplify Web and cloud development.
The panel touched on a wide variety of issues, not only including
identifying the most pressing issues facing developers, but also such topics as
whether IDEs (integrated development environments) matter more than languages,
whether modeling is important, the degree to which programmers should be allowed
freedom with the language and the inevitable dynamic language versus static
First, a bit about the panelists ... Gilad Bracha is the creator of the
Newspeak programming language. He is currently a distinguished engineer at
Cadence Design Systems; previously he was a computational theologist and
distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems. Douglas Crockford is a senior
Division at Microsoft, is the chief designer of the C# programming language and
a key participant in the development of the Microsoft .NET
framework. Hejlsberg also developed Turbo Pascal, the first-ever IDE,
and the Delphi language. Wolfram Schulte is a senior
researcher at Microsoft, and Jeremy Siek is an assistant professor at the University
of Colorado. Siek's areas of
research include generic programming, programming language design and compiler
Regarding IDEs, Bracha said, "I come from a world where IDEs matter a
lot. They are enormously important, but the language is also enormously
Hejlsberg said IDEs certainly do matter, "but a lot less than they did
25 years ago." He said frameworks and IDEs have dwarfed languages, but
languages remain important. However, Hejlsberg lamented the fact that languages
evolve so slowly as compared with other areas of computing.
Schulte said he believes, "languages and libraries don't matter so
much. You have to look at what problem you want to solve and then pick the
language." Indeed, Crockford said he encourages developers to learn as many
languages as possible.
Yet, when asked whether languages should be designed by committee or by a
benevolent dictator, all five panelists, in unison, replied:
based, and said although a standards body or committee may be stodgy, it is the
structure the organization provides that is most important.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.