Seven Languages, More or Less (Okay, More)

or Laurie Lists Lotsa Languages Like Lua

So, when faced with a book like “Seven More Languages,” an obvious first question is “What are the seven more languages?” I was dismayed or delighted to realize I had no idea what any of them were:

  • Lua
  • Factor
  • Elm
  • Elixir
  • Julia
  • miniKanren
  • Idris

This promises to be a fun adventure.

Of course, knowing a little about a language doesn’t take all of the adventure out of it. The first “Seven Languages” used the languages:

  • Ruby
  • Io
  • Prolog
  • Scala
  • Erlang
  • Clojure
  • Haskell

At least there I had taught both Lisp (aka Clojure) and Prolog in AI classes, had taught lots of Java, so some of Scala wasn’t foreign, and had played with Ruby and Rails. Yeah, Io was, and remains, highly esoteric, but I’d heard of Haskell and Erlang and knew they’d be worth playing with. There is plenty of adventure to be had in these languages and the More Languages promises even more adventure.

There’s something in me that likes lists (Lisp and I are about the same age). So, I figured I’d pause before jumping into to Lua to make a couple more lists. Let’s start with the languages I learned first, as embarrassing as that may be since it starts with BASIC (and none of that Visual stuff either).

  • BASIC, FORTRAN, and COBOL as an undergraduate
  • Pascal in night school while in the Army (as a purely theoretical exercise, since the instructor never figured out the compiler for the TRS 80)
  • IBM 380 Assembly, Lisp, Ada, and Modula-2 in grad school

Then I started teaching and added:

  • C++
  • 68000 Assembly
  • Java
  • Visual Basic
  • C#
  • Perl
  • Python
  • Tcl/Tk

Presenting in GDG meetings added

  • Go
  • Dart
  • JavaScript and HTML

Working with K12 programs included

  • Greenfoot
  • Jeroo (a personal favorite)
  • Scratch and Squeak (and BYOB, Snap, and Blockly)
  • Alice
  • Karel
  • Lightbot
  • Robocode
  • Pivot
  • Processing

I did a little Smalltalk with the programming contest one year and some R as part of exploring big data. Should I count things like Bash, Awk, SQL, etc.? Nope, I don’t think so.

Yes, C is missing. I can probably fake my way through C, but I decided it was too ugly to learn in my grad school programming language survey class. There were a bunch of us who each had a language and during a typical class, we’d hear from the C guy, the COBOL guy, the Pascal guy, the PL/I professor and the Ada gal. That was enough C for me. (But after teaching “C++” for engineering freshmen, I’d be hard pressed to tell you why I wasn’t teaching C.) I had a friend who majored in comparative lit in college and he decided to never read Hamlet. I’ve used him as inspiration any time I’ve thought I should know more C.

Instead, I should learn Lua, I do believe.

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