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Linux Journal: Which Programming Language?

Feb 08, 2001, 21:41 (25 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Barry)

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"In issue August 2000 issue of Linux Journal, L. Paul Bedard wrote a letter to the Editor looking for advice on selecting a programming language. Having programmed in Fortran and BASIC years ago, Paul wanted to program once more but in a newer language. The question was: which one should he use? In this article, I survey a clutch of popular programming languages and provide some personal opinions as to when it is appropriate to use each of them. I'll also talk about some of the development tools available for each language. Hopefully, by the end of this article, Paul will be in a position to make an informed decision. (A small annotated bibliography is also included)."

"Let me begin by listing the five contenders: C, C++, Java, Python and Perl. There are, of course, lots of other programming languages; however, references to these five appear more than most, especially in the Linux world."

"Before looking at each language in turn, there is one thing we can say about them all: they are general-purpose and can be used for most any programming task. A general distinction is that C and C++ are compiled languages, much like Fortran, whereas Python and Perl are interpretive, like most versions of BASIC. Java is somewhere in the middle; source code is compiled into an intermediate format which is then interpreted."

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