Core of Programming Languages

Gerald Weinberg is a Charter Member of the Computing Hall of Fame. He recently shared some thoughts to the question, “What were the problems Dennis Ritchie and Bjarne Stroustrup were trying to solve which led them to develop C and C++, respectively?” Based on my reading, his sense of languages in terms of the question are as follows:

  1. Programming languages often come into existence as an extension of the style of the person(s) who made it.
  2. Programming languages does not determine speed of the program.
  3. Speed comes from how the code itself is designed and the capabilities of the compilers that convert that code into the actual program binary.

I’ll add a 4th observation. Speed, reliability, and other qualities also are a function of not your code design or the quality and capability of your compiler. It also has to do with the third-party code libraries at your disposal. Now there are 3 factors: Code design, compiler capability, and third-party code libraries. C++ and C tend to hold sway in certain types of programs due to the highly developed nature of compilers and libraries associated with those languages.


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