We need a programming language for everyone else June 15, 2011
I've been programming since I can remember (1974 was the first time I can remember... and that was on an HP Calculator). I believe that I'm more expressive in code than I am in English.
I think we need a programming language for "everyone else"... for the folks that don't natively understand how to break problems down into discrete, micro steps.
The issues I see in programming language design are:
- Languages are designed by wicked smart folks who find certain patterns easy and have a challenge understanding that other folks can't wrap their head around those patterns.
- For the most part, "general purpose" programming languages are either for system control (C and its progeny) or for academic research (Lisp and its progeny) and a key early goal for these languages is to be "self hosting" so the ecosystem around them grows up around compiler tools rather than "mere mortal" development tools.
- VisiCalc/1-2-3/Excel -- The most popular tools for instructing computers. Built for a specific cohort using the paradigm of that cohort and has not materially evolved in 30+ years.
- HTML/CSS -- I have lots of problems doing HTML and CSS but it seems "easy" for a much larger cross-section of people than does C or Java or Ruby.
- PHP -- Simple and very pervasively popular.
Anyway, I think that building tools for "other people" to write programs should be a very high priority among those that are building hardware and software systems.