Laura Diane Hamilton

Technical Product Manager at Groupon


Anthropomorphizing Programming Languages

On Monday my husband and I had the pleasure of dinner and drinks with rails developer Josh Cheek and investigative reporter Julie Wernau.

At one point we asked Josh, “if each programming language were a human character, who would it be?”

And with that Josh proceeded to anthropomorphize 6 programming languages. He probably would have kept going but I ran out of receipts to write on.

He started off with JavaScript, the ubiquitous language that everybody loves to hate.

“JavaScript is the guy behind the counter at the DMV. Everybody knows him; if you want to drive you don't have any other choice. But nobody likes going to the DMV. It's stressful, and you always find out too late that you filled out the forms wrong, or didn't bring enough pieces of mail, and you wind up with an unflattering picture you have to flash at bartenders for the next decade.”

Image credit: OregonDOT on Flickr

Then on to Java, source of the perennial updates, surreptitious toolbar installations, and security holes.

“Java is the drama queen you need to root out of your life. 'Everybody needs me—look how important I am,' cries Java petulantly, not realizing that its kingdom, the JVM, will eventually crown a more deserving language.”

Image credit: Rob Boudon on Flickr

Then ruby.

“Ruby is Billy Idol. Not a fond of following the rules, it does what it wants to. Used to be really hip and cool. The people who were young when it first became popular still love it, and enlightened individuals from the newer generations inevitably discover it. But the 'scene' kids aren't into it anymore. They're into JavaScript.”

Image credit: Tobyotter on Flickr

And of course PHP.

“PHP is the stoner. It makes all these bad decisions for bad reasons and then it persists them. Also it's inconsistent.”

What about python?

“Python is the nerdy kid who studied all 4 years at college and then gets drunk every weekend. It's nerdy because there's a whole bunch of science libraries. Scientists love it because they get access to all the low level primitives. But it's a fun language too.”

Image credit: RDECOM on Flickr

Finally, Haskell.

“Haskell is like your really stern parents. When you're young, it seems inhibiting to have so many rules. But when you look back on it later, you're really glad you didn't watch all that television... or mutate that data.”

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