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Top 10 Programming Languages

Date Added: October 26, 2008 06:40:32 PM
Author: admin


I wish we could really learn programming in 7 days or 21 days or 48 hours as those sensational book titles suggest.  That way, we could all learn pretty much every programming language available within a few years and make an objective ranking system that pits each one against the next to find the coding system to beat all others.

According to the now-defunct History Of Programming Languages website, there are currently more than 8500 programming languages in existence.  These handpicked 10 may not be the best choices for every programmer you ask but we can make a solid case for them any day.


1.  Python


Python is one of the fastest-growing languages in terms of increasing commercial adoption.  It is a dynamically-typed, object-oriented language with built-in memory management.  It is highly flexible, easy to use and extremely powerful in ways that few of the mainstream languages are likely able to match.


Why It's In The Top 10:  If there is ever an ideal language, Python could fit the bill.  It is easy enough to be an introductory programming language (like Basic or TCL) and powerful enough to use in full-featured applications (like Perl).  It also scales elegantly for real-world commercial needs (e.g. YouTube).


2.  Java


Java is a portable object-oriented language syntactically based on C++, with a simpler object model and less focus on low-level facilities.   Originally released by Sun Microsystems in 1995, Java compiles to bytecode and can run on any machine with the system's runtime environment installed.  A large bulk of research and development performed on current languages are focused on Java, lending it a wide and varied pool of support applications,  putting it in a distinct position that will likely keep it on top over many coming years.


Why It's In The Top 10:  It is currently the most widely-adapted programming language for commercial use, despite a sometimes questionable runtime performance.  It offers the widest variety in platform choice and powers some of the internet's most pervasive and influential web applications.


3.  C++


C++ is a complex programming language with a broad range of object-oriented features.  Originally developed as an extension to C, it took on a life of its own shortly thereafter.  It offers a versatile suite of features that allow programmers to do amazing things, both correctly (zero-overhead, portable software) and incorrectly (hard to read code).  Open source support for C++ continues to be strong.


Why It's In The Top 10: C++ is insanely fast.  It's a powerful language with plenty of low-level facilities and enjoy wide use in vital applications, including systems software, appliance drivers, high-performance apps and video games.


4.  Smalltalk


Everything in Smalltalk is treated as an object, including blocks of code.  To perform actions, check conditions or do anything, you send messages (comprised of blocks of code that are objects in themselves) to other objects.  There is more syntax in Smalltalk than similarly minimalistic languages like Lisp but it remains unrestrictive.  


Why It's In The Top 10:  Smalltalk is the programming language that defined "object-oriented".   To this day, it sets the the standard for highly-dynamic and strongly-typed interactive languages in the object-oriented field.


5.  Ruby


Ruby is a general-purpose, object-oriented language developed in the mid-1990s and has steadily grown in adoption over the last several years.  It is purely object-oriented and treats every element of the language, including primitives, as such.  While Ruby is, essentially, a scripting language, it is a very high-level implementation capable of handling complex operations and massive data structures with relatively little code.


Why It's In The Top 10:  Ruby shines in the web 2.0 space, a likely direction for the future of the internet.  It's syntax is also highly expressive and more elegant than most programming languages.


6. Common Lisp


Common Lisp is a rich and complex programming language that may prove difficult to distill in a few short sentences.  It is a totally reflexive system, able to function with little syntax constraints.  It also self-customizes, extending itself with every function a programmer writes.  In effect, a lisp program not only provides a feature but makes it a part of the Lisp system itself.


Why It's In The Top 10:  This elegance allows Lisp a unique extensibility capable of achieving greater simplicity the further its limits are explored, a feature few languages are able to claim.


7.  PHP


Fast, free and effective - that's what PHP offers.  Designed from day one to make web development as painless as  possible, PHP (which stands for Personal Home Page) eliminates plenty of things that makes programming a laborious and tedious process.  It supports both procedural and object-oriented coding.  The relative simplicity of PHP, however, tends to allow bad coding practices to go unpunished.


Why It's In The Top 10:  It's so simple to the point that many have referred to PHP as a dumbed-down scripting tool.  Yet, its massive use and adoption is undeniable.  While scalability may become an issue, well-coded systems can potentially grow given ample resources (e.g. Digg, Wikipedia, Flickr).


8.  Groovy


With Java's prominence as a widely-used development language for enterprise applications, it may not take long for Groovy to grow in adoption as well.  Intended as an alternative to Java, Groovy is a similarly object-oriented language that can run on cross-platform JVM.  Almost all Java code will be valid in Groovy.  In fact, it can be said that Groovy is basically a Java implementation with dynamic typing and native support for numerous markup languages.


Why It's In The Top 10:  Groovy simply builds upon and improves on Java.  It offers easier coding, better reusability and is a truly dynamic language.  It's inherits all of Java's benefits and makes up for its shortcomings.  You can bet good money that it will find wider adoption sooner rather than later.


9.  C


C is a fairly low-level and procedural programming language.  It is an immensely powerful language for writing high-speed code that is highly portable across numerous platforms.  The same flexibility and power that allows it to program everything from device controllers to GUI libraries also lends it to be badly coded with disastrous consequences.


Why It's In The Top 10: C is a highly influential language that has seen much use across academia from the 1970s to the 1990s up to today.  A number of compilers and interpreters for higher-level languages are frequently implemented in it.  It continues to enjoy a distinct popularity in commercial use, ranking #2 in TIOBE's latest popularity polls.


10.  Brainfuck


An esoteric programming language that takes "esoteric" to new heights, Brainfuck was designed with the intention of running it with the smallest possible compiler.  It succeeded in that regard with existing usable compilers taking up no more than 200 bytes.  Noted for its minimalism, Brainfuck has eight standard commands, each consisting of only a single character that renders it highly unreadable.  It is not used for serious programming but rather employed as a mental exercise and a source of amusement among programmers.


Why It's In The Top 10:  Forgive us.  With a name like Brainfuck, how can we say no?




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