Stroustrup: Why the 35-year-old C++ still dominates ‘real’ dev

In an interview, C++ designer Bjarne Stroustrup says the programming language remains vital and relevant 35 years after he first designed it in 1979 because of its ability to handle complexity, making it the go-to solution for telecom, financial, and embedded applications and online systems such as Amazon and Google. Stroustrup says Google’s Go language, which has been receiving a great deal of attention, can “do a few things elegantly,” but loses “the edge in performance.” Stroustrup says he used C++ for projects that “required a real programming language and real performance,” by way of noting the language is more suitable for large-scale projects than small apps or hobbyists. Stroustrup says he is continuing to work to build the capabilities of C++ with the release of a new minor edition, C++ 14, this year. The update offers several improvements, including new templates and better memory initialization. Asked what role security should play in software development, Stroustrup says, “security is a systems issue.” He also calls for greater professionalism among software programmers. “There are things in our society that mustn’t break, and most of them depend on software,” he says.

Stroustrup: Why the 35-year-old C++ still dominates ‘real’ dev | Application development – InfoWorld.

PHP gets its own formal language specification

Although the PHP scripting language has been around since 1995 and is a staple of Web development, it does not actually have a formal language specification — just extensive user documentation. But that is all set to change.

Led by Facebook, a draft specification has been posted on GitHub to provide a complete definition of PHP language semantics and syntax.

via PHP gets its own formal language specification | Php web – InfoWorld.

Why Apple’s Swift Language Will Instantly Remake Computer Programming

The language is called Swift, and on June 2, Apple released a test version to coders outside the company, billing it as a faster and more effective means of building software apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

via Why Apple’s Swift Language Will Instantly Remake Computer Programming | Enterprise | WIRED.

Python bumps off Java as top learning language

I think that Python is a great learning language. The constructs are easy and natural, and students end up “fighting” more with the overall algorithm implementation (which is good) than with the details of system management.

Python has surpassed Java as the top language used to introduce U.S. students to programming and computer science, according to a recent survey posted by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Eight of the top 10 computer science departments now use Python to teach coding, as well as 27 of the top 39 schools, indicating that it is the most popular language for teaching introductory computer science courses, according to Philip Guo, a computer science researcher who compiled the survey for ACM.

The three largest, most popular online class providers — Coursera, edX and Udacity — also offer introductory programming courses in Python, Guo found.

Python has been growing in popularity in the educational realm for at least the past few years, though this survey is the first to show it has eclipsed Java, which has been the dominant teaching language for the past decade, Guo said in a blog post about his survey.

via Python bumps off Java as top learning language – Computerworld.

The Swift effect: Apple’s new programming language means way more iPhone developers and apps

Swift is trying to borrow the best elements of moderately newer popular languages like Python and Javascript. “These are just more modern, colloquial languages that more developers today understand. They are easier to learn, and things don’t break as easily in them,” says Chung.

Compared to the more complex Objective-C, the drawback of these simpler languages is performance — but Apple says Swift will mean a no-compromise solution. “Swift seems like it finally gives the developers in the iOS world the ability to do the things you have been able to do in the scripting world but without the penalties,” says Daniel Doubrovkine, the head of engineering at Artsy. “That’s if it delivers on its promises, and others have promised and failed. But the fact that Apple is behind it gives me a lot of hope its the real deal.”

via The Swift effect: Apple’s new programming language means way more iPhone developers and apps | The Verge.

The Dartmouth – College celebrates half century of BASIC language

My first programming language was BASIC, and I learned it on ZX Spectrum:

330px-ZX_Spectrum+

I would like to go back, and try it out – I no longer have it. But it required connecting to the TV via the antenna cable, and downloading programs from a tape recorder cassette. Ancient times!

A series of presentations from Dartmouth faculty, students and national experts will mark the 50th anniversary of BASIC at Dartmouth.

The conference’s theme is past, present and future computing, computer science department chair Tom Cormen said. The afternoon will begin with the premiere of a documentary on the history of BASIC, created by filmmakers Bob Drake, Mike Murray and mathematics department chair Dan Rockmore.

via The Dartmouth – College celebrates half century of BASIC language.

Go 1.3’s first beta promises a sleeker, faster language

I came across Google Go when I was teaching concurrency last year (SE3BB4). I really liked the related GoDocs package present

Present displays slide presentations and articles. It runs a web server that presents slide and article files from the current directory. It may be run as a stand-alone command or an App Engine app. The stand-alone version permits the execution of programs from within a presentation.

Google’s Go language project, which runs at C-like speeds but allows for the dynamic development usually reserved for languages like Python, is about to enter its 1.3 revision, with a first beta soon to be made available.

Based on the currently published documentation, most of the changes in Go 1.3 don’t involve introducing new features to the language, but rather addressing many of the issues and complaints that have popped up during its few years in the wild. A few of the new features position Go as a one-stop-shop language for all things Google, including the Native Client architecture that Google has been proposing as an alternative to the “JavaScript everywhere” philosophy.

The first set of major improvements to Go 1.3 involve the linker and compiler, both significantly reworked to allow programs — especially larger ones — to compile more quickly. Google has touted Go as a way to build large distributed applications, so having less of a bottleneck on the compiler side is a boon.

via Go 1.3’s first beta promises a sleeker, faster language | Application development – InfoWorld.

Eric Allman and sendmail – nice post for programmers

Eric Allman developed sendmail and its precursor delivermail in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the University of California, Berkeley. The program was designed to deliver email over the still relatively small ARPANET network, and supports a variety of mail transfer protocols, including SMTP, ESMTP, and DECnet’s Mail-11. In 1998, he founded Sendmail, Inc.

via January 9, 2014: People of ACM: Eric Allman — Association for Computing Machinery.