Envisioning the Programming Language of the Future

Microsoft C++ architect extols the virtues of melding major languages with virtual platforms.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—What will be the dominant programming languages a decade from now?

Microsoft Corp. developer division architect Herb Sutter told attendees of the OOPSLA conference here that he couldnt predict the names of the most prominent programming languages of 2014, but he had a good idea of the characteristics of those languages.

Sutter said the top future programming languages will blend existing "concrete" languages with virtual platforms. They will likely include garbage collection, (even if only as an optional feature); security and verifiability; the ability to be optimized; and an easy and scalable way to manipulate large quantities of external data.

Virtual platforms, by Sutters definition, are those that include a virtual-machine abstraction layer, garbage collection and built-in security models.

"The JVM [Java virtual machine] and [Microsofts] .Net arent going away any time soon," Sutter told attendees of his Wednesday afternoon keynote address. "They are important because of things like security, which is becoming more—not less—important. But concrete [languages] also are not going away. The death of Fortran and C++ are predicted every year. But C++ is still the dominant language. Its good at solving important problems."

Sutter focused during most of his hour-plus talk on how and why Microsoft decided to combine its Visual C++ language with its Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) virtual platform. The merged C++ 2.0 release will be one of the components of Visual Studio 2005, code-named "Whidbey," which is due to ship by mid-2005.

"This is the first time I know of that a major language has been merged well with a virtual platform," Sutter told attendees, in reference to C++ 2.0.

Why did Microsoft make such a move? "Its not just have your cake and eat it too," Sutter said. "Its better together—like templates and generics."


Click here

to read the full story at Microsoft Watch.


Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.


Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Windows news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page