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lilstevey (4628)

lilstevey
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Journal of lilstevey (4628)

Thursday October 19, 2006
05:26 AM

Blog surfing - Dynamic Languages

[ #31355 ]
I can't quite remember what I was googling for, but I stumbled across an interesting blog.
I don't totally agree with some of the conjecture, but it looks like I may want to add the book in question to my "to read" list http://gregluck.com/blog/archives/java/index.html
A section from the January 23, 2006 entry follows:

The Decline? of Dynamic Typing

The other Tiobe identified trend is the relative decline of dynamically typed languages.

Where does this trend leave the dynamically typed Ruby? From the O'Reilly conference and amongst my peers, there is quite a lot of interest in Ruby. However its popularity in the Tiobe index is only 22, though it is increasing in popularity at the expense of Perl. So, perhaps the book series should be called "Beyond Perl", rather than "Beyond Java".

Dynamic vs Static Typing is a subject of programming language textbooks. Which is why I am reading one. Some good stuff on this topic is available here. Robert W. Sebesta, in his Concepts of Programming Languages has this to say:

Dynamic type binding causes programs to be less reliable, because the error detection capability of the compiler is diminished...

... languages with dynamic type binding... must be implemented with interpreters rather than compilers.

Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of dynamic type binding is cost. The cost of implementing dynamic type binding is considerable.

And this on page 223:

"The penalty for static checking is reduced programmer flexibility. Fewer shortcuts and tricks are possible. Such techniques, though, are now generally held in low esteem".

In his view, Java and C# are on the ascendancy partly because they make the right set of tradeoffs in language features. They combine the right mix of readability, writability and reliability. I have been tinkering with Ruby since the O'Reilly conference last year, when I attended a half day session with Dave Thomas. I am hoping to get the time to do a full comparison of Java and Ruby in those terms.

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  • The "decline" he comments on here is a slight change in the number of Google hits. That's all that TIOBE measures.
    • Theres various metrics out there, and its been argued you can prove anything with statistics, but I don't think that it can be doubted that java has been, and is an immensly popular language.

      However, the interesting migration for me is the "expansion of knowledge base" that many experienced java developers are making towards Ruby.

      I think ( imho ) there is a gaining acceptance that java, whilst having a great many strengths is not the final solution to ongoing challenges of software development, which