Friday, August 31, 2018

An alternative model of computer programming : Part 1

Today, I googled "How many programming languages are there?" and the first hit I got said, "256".

I giggled - as any programmer would when a power of two pops up in the wild like that. Of course, it is not possible to say exactly how many because new ones are invented almost every day and it really depends on how you define "language"...It is definitely in the hundreds at least.

It is probably in the thousands, if you rope in all the DSLs and all the macro-pre-processors-and-front-ends-that-spit-out-Java-or-C.

In this series of blog posts I am going to ask myself and then attempt to answer an odd question. Namely, "what if language is not the best starting point for thinking about computer programming?"

Before I get into the meat of that question, I will start with how I believe we got to the current state of affairs - the current programming linguistic tower of Bable - with its high learning curve to enter its hallowed walls. With all its power and the complexities that seem to be inevitable in accessing that power.

I believe we got here the day we decided that computing was best modelling with mathematics.

1 comment:

Anthony Coates said...

To be fair, if you think back to the first computers, all binary & toggle switches, it *was* all mathematics, there wasn't a choice back then. The possibility of a choice only arrived later once we had more powerful computers & software.