Python + Java knowledge

Alan Gauld alan.gauld at
Thu Oct 21 19:05:21 EDT 2004

On Wed, 20 Oct 2004 04:45:42 GMT, Maurice LING
<mauriceling at> wrote:
> I am amazed about people like Eric Raymond that can pick up and use a 
> dozen language, how did they do it? 

Not that amazing, most imprerative programming languages(which is
most programming languages!) are very similar. Once you know how
to do variable declarations, IO, loops, branches and functions
you can start writing code. After that the big lhurdle is
learning the library and thats down to practice mainly.

> It is equally amazing that 
> programming jobs these days require half a dozen programming languages 
> known. 

Again not really. Most reasonable sized projects will use
multiple languages. Certainly the minimum number of languages on
a single project I've worked on was 5 (C, awk, c-shell, SQL, DOS)
and I've been on several with over a dozen. The wackiest was  16
languages - but that was frankly excessive and an indication of
poorly coordinated design more than necessity.

> I came with a background in Pascal and bits of C, and some xBase 
> languages, then picked up Java and Python. 

Are you sure you don't know some SQL and DOS Batch language, or
Unix shell dialects? And if you know Java and C then C++ is but a
step away... Add those to your 5 and suddenly you know 9 and a
dozen languages doesn't seem so far away does it? :-)

> As mentioned in my post on 'reverse jython', I am envisioning the day 
> where mixed language programming is a reality.

It already is and has been.

Unix has always had easy intregration of C and Fortran. Topspeed
used to sell PC compilers where C, C++, Pascal, & Modula 2 all
shared the same object code format so you could mix n match
modules easily. UCSD Pascal also apparently had a bytecode level
compatibility with a couple of other languages but I never used
that. And now .NET is playing the same game under Windows...

There is nothing new under the sun.

Alan G.
Author of the Learn to Program website

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