Number of languages known [was Re: Python is readable] - somewhat OT

Steve Howell showell30 at
Fri Mar 23 09:04:06 CET 2012

On Mar 23, 12:05 am, Chris Angelico <ros... at> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 1:48 PM, Steve Howell <showel... at> wrote:
> > On Mar 22, 6:11 pm, Steven D'Aprano <steve
> > +comp.lang.pyt... at> wrote:
> >> In any case, I'm not talking about the best developers. I'm talking about
> >> the typical developer, who by definition is just average. They probably
> >> know reasonably well one to three of the half dozen most popular
> >> languages (VB, Java, C, C+, Javascript, PHP, Perl?) plus regexes and SQL,
> >> and are unlikely to know any of Prolog, Lisp, Haskell, Hypertalk,
> >> Mercury, Cobra, Smalltalk, Ada, APL, Emerald, Inform, Forth, ...
> > I love how you can rattle off 20 or so languages, just off the top of
> > your head, and not even mention Ruby. ;)
> If I were to rattle off a couple dozen languages, it probably wouldn't
> include Ruby either. Never learned it, don't (as yet) know what its
> advantage domain is.


> My list "runs somewhat thus": BASIC, 80x86
> Assembly, C, C++, Java, REXX, Pascal, Pike, Perl, PHP, Javascript,
> DeScribe Macro Language, Scheme, Python, ActionScript, DOS Batch, Lua,
> COBOL, FORTRAN, Ada, Modula-2, LPC, Erlang, Haskell... and that's not
> counting things like POV-Ray or LilyPond that aren't exactly
> _programming_ languages, although in some cases you could shoehorn an
> application into them. Granted, I do have some rather strange and
> esoteric interests, and I'm sure that Ruby is far better known than
> DeScribe Macro Language (!!), but I think first of those I've used,
> and then of the most famous.
> Sorry Ruby. No slight meant! :)

If you're that adept at learning languages, then I recommend learning
Ruby just for kicks, but you're not missing *that* much, trust me.
I'd skip past Ruby and learn CoffeeScript.

Of the languages that are in the scripting family, you already know
REXX (supreme elegance for its time), Perl (I hate it now, but loved
it before Python), PHP (truly easy to learn, you can never take that
away from it), and Javascript (horrible syntax, awful platform, but at
least they have first-class functions).

You have the Assembly/C/C++/Java progression--definitely good stuff,
even if the ending to the movie was a bit of a letdown.

COBOL/Fortran/Ada gives you instance "old school" street cred.

Haskell/Erlang/Scheme means you can hang out with the cool grad school
kids in the CS/Math departments (no oxymoron intended).

I confess--I've never learned LilyPond, Modula-2, or LPC!  I mean, of
course they're on my resume, just to get by HR screening, but that's
just between you and me...

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