13 programming languages defining the future of coding

Coding Languages

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Highlights:Just a clean, simple language for manipulating data.

This can make things easier for everyone on a team because no one has to fret when someone else digs up a neat idea from the nether reaches of the language specification.

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Everyone whos taken an advanced course in programming languages knows the academic world loves the idea of functional programming, which insists that each function have well-defined inputs and outputs but no way of messing with other variables. There are dozens of good functional languages, and it would be impossible to add all of them here.Scalais one of the best-known, with one of the larger user bases. It was engineered to run on the JVM, so anything you write in Scala can run anywhere that Java runswhich is almost everywhere.

Many of these functions will be a real novelty for programmers, especially programmers used to creating user interfaces for general computers. You can read voltages, check the status of pins on the board, and of course, control just how those LEDs flash to send inscrutable messages to the people staring at the device.

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If theres a common theme among the languages I describe below, its thatincreasing automationcan yield code worthy of the terms faster, smarter, and bug-free. The newer approaches include more structure and more abstraction, allowing the guts of the languages to do what programmers used to have to do themselves. These automated features give the programmer more leverage to concentrate on the big issues. In many cases, they also produce better performance because the automated mechanisms are better able to find opportunities for efficiency and parallel computation while eliminating some of the simple mistakes that lead to errors.

Highlights:Very simple for many common JSON problems

When Google set out to build a new language to power its server farms, it decided to build something simple by throwing out many of the more clever ideas often found in other languages. They wanted to keep everything, as one creator said, simple enough to hold in one programmers head. There are no complex abstractions or clever metaprogramming inGojust basic features specified in a straightforward syntax.

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Headaches:Thinking functionally can require fixing some bad habits.

Headaches:Sometimes those brackets make it easier to understand deeply nested code.

There are more elaborate constructs such as mixins and nested rules that effectively create blocks of standard layout commands that can be included in any number of CSS classes. If someone decides that the bold typeface needs to go, you only need to fix it at the root and Less.js will push the new rule into all the other definitions.

Thats whyDis being built. Its meant to update all the logical purity of C and C++ while adding in modern conveniences such as memory management, type inference, and bounds checking.

Most people take the power of their video cards for granted. They dont even think about how many triangles the video card is juggling, as long as their world is a complex, first-person shooter game. But if they would only look under the hood, they would find a great deal of power ready to be unlocked by the right programmer. TheCUDAlanguage is a way for Nvidia to open up the power of their graphics processing units (GPUs) to work in ways other than killing zombies or robots.

Here are13 languages that are changing how we tell computers what to do. Some of these languages are new, some are already very popular, and some arent actually languages.If youre looking for an article about new programming languagesthat have a chance to to become industry mainstays, check out5 emerging programming languages with a bright future.

When XML was the big data format, a functional language called XSLT was one of the better tools for fiddling with large datasets coded in XML. Now that JSON has taken over the world,Joltis one of the options for massaging your JSON data and transforming it. You can write simple filters that extract attributes and JOLT will find them and morph them as you desire. See alsoTempoand usingXSLTitself.

Highlights:Some of the most essential new features in languages.

Somewhere along the line, some JavaScript programmersgrew tiredof typing all those semicolons and curly brackets. So they createdCoffeeScript,a preprocessing tool that turns their syntactic shorthand back into regular JavaScript. Its not as much a language as a way to save time hitting all those semicolons and curly bracket keys.

Just like CoffeeScript,Less.jsis really just a preprocessor for your files, one that makes it easier to create elaborate CSS files. Anyone who has tried to build a list of layout rules for even the simplest website knows that creating basic CSS requires plenty of repetition; Less.js handles all this repetition with loops, variables, and other basic programming constructs. You can, for instance, create a variable to hold that shade of green used as both a background and a highlight color. If the boss wants to change it, you only need to update one spot.

If youre just looking for truly new languages that could become the future of mainstream programming, check out5 emerginglanguages with a bright future.

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Highlights:Very fast performance, at least for parallel code.

ButJava 8is a bit different. It comes with new features aimed at offering functional techniques that can unlock the parallelism in your code. You dont have to use them. You could stick with all the old Java because it still works. But if you dont use it, youll be missing the chance to offer the Java virtual machine (JVM) even more structure for optimizing the execution. Youll miss the chance to think functionally and write cleaner, faster, and less buggy code.

At heart,Ris a programming language, but its more of a standard bearer for the worlds current obsession with using statistics to unlock patterns in large blocks of data. R was designed by statisticians and scientists to make their work easier. It comes with most standard functions used in data analysis and many of the most useful statistical algorithms are already implemented as freely distributed libraries. Its got most of what data scientists need to do data-driven science.

Headaches:Thinking functionally can be difficult for some tasks and applications.

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For many programmers, theres nothing like the very clean, simple world of C. The syntax is minimal and the structure maps cleanly to the CPU. Some call it portable Assembly. Even for all these advantages, some C programmers feel like theyre missing out on the advantages built into newer languages.

TheInternet of Thingsis coming. More and more devices have embedded chips just waiting to be told what to do.Arduinoisnt so much a new language as a set of C or C++ functions that you string together. The compiler does the rest of the work.

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Faster, smarter programming, with fewer bugs. Those are the promises coming from the creators of the latest round of languages to capture the attention of programmers. Yes, theyre the same buzzwords weve heard before, but thelackof novelty is no reason to dismiss them. The future of coding requires stability and good practices so our innovations will work. In fact, our projects are often so much bigger now, we need the innovation more than ever.

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Headaches:A few good constructs leave you asking for more.

But beyond this one overarching theme, theres little agreement. One of the languages is built for statistical analysis. Several are meant to modernize classic languages. Some arent even languages at alltheyre merely preprocessors. Still, all of them are changing how were writing code today and laying the foundation for the future of coding.

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Java isnt a new language. Its often everyones first language, thanks to its role as thelingua francafor AP Computer Science. There are billions of JAR files floating around running the world.

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Headaches:Sometimes a clever feature is needed.

Jokers may claim that CoffeeScript is little more than a way to rest your right hands pinkie, but theyre missing the point. Cleaner code is easier to read, and we all benefit when we can parse the code quickly in our brain. CoffeeScript makes it easier for everyone to understand the code, and that benefits everyone.

Highlights:Functional, but flexible enough to play well with others using the JVM

Headaches:Aimed at desktops, not the world of big data where technologies like Hadoop rule.

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Headaches:A bolted-on feeling makes us want to jump in with both feet and use Scala (see below).

The language specification is broad. Its not just a syntactic cleanup of Objective C. There are plenty of new features, so many that theyre hard to list. Some coders might even complain that theres too much to learn, and Swift will make life more complicated for teams who need to read each others code. But lets not focus too much on that. iPhone coders can now spin out code as quickly as others. They can work with a cleaner syntax and let the language do the busy work.

Headaches:The backward compatibility requires thinking about bits and bytes occasionally.

Many people end up using R inside an IDE as a high-powered scratchpad for playing with data.R StudioandR Commanderare two popular front ends that let you load up your data and play with it. They make it less of a compile-and-run language and more of an interactive world in which to do your work.

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Highlights:The world of devices is your oyster.

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Apple saw an opportunity when programming newbies complained about the endless mess of writing in Objective C. So they introducedSwiftand strongly implied that it would replace Objective C for writing for the Mac or the iPhone. They recognized that creating header files and juggling pointers was antiquated. Swift hides this information, making it much more like writing in a modern language like Java or Python. Finally, the language is doing all the scut work, just like the modern code.

Headaches:Some JSON transformations are close to impossible.

Highlights:Fast, stable, and solid algorithms for complex math

Headaches:You trade some power away for the safety net.

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Headaches:The math is still complex.

Highlights:Lambda expressions and concurrent code

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Its hard to generalize much about the new languages, at least beyond the promises that theyll producecode that is faster, smarter, and contains fewer fact, its a bit of a stretch to call them new. The history for some of these languages stretches back years, even decades. They just seem new, now that theyre being discovered by the larger world.

Highlights:Dramatically cleaner syntax and less low-level juggling of pointers

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Once upon a time,MATLABwas a hardcore language for hardcore mathematicians and scientists who needed to juggle complex systems of equations and find solutions. Its still that, and more of todays projects need those complex skills. So MATLAB is finding its way into more applications as developers start pushing deeper into complex mathematical and statistical analysis. The core has been tested over the decades by mathematicians and now its able to help mere mortals.

The key challenge to using CUDA is learning to identify the parallel parts of your algorithm. Once you find them, you can set up the CUDA code to blast through these sections using all the inherent parallel power of the video card. Some jobs, like mining Bitcoins, are pretty simple, but other challenges, like sorting and molecular dynamics, may take a bit more thinking. Scientists love using CUDA code for their large, multidimensional simulations.

Headaches:Identifying the easily parallelizable sections of code isnt always easy.

Highlights:Clever expressions for selecting a subset of the data and analyzing it

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Scala isnt the only functional language with a serious fan base. One of the most popular functional languages,Haskell, is another good place for programmers to begin. Its already being used for major projects at companies like Facebook. Its delivering real performance on real projects, something that often isnt the case for academic code.

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There are good reasons to believe that functional programming precepts, when followed, can build stronger code thats easier to optimize and often free of some of the most maddening bugs. Scala is one way to dip your toe into these waters.

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