Their Programming Language Sucks!

Or at least this is what I hear often all around me. Many want to think that their language is better than all others, and go to great lengths to discredit them. Just like at sport events, people would paint their faces in their team’s colors and yell insults at the opponents. I’m here to tell you that all languages are great and suck in their own way.

There is no need to switch to a language just because someone told you that it was better; that’s often irrelevant, although counter-intuitive. You will always be more productive with the language that you have worked with for the past 10 or more years. While you spend another 10 years becoming an expert in a new language, you’re providing lower value for your customers. And what if by the time you are finally done switching, a shiny new awesome language comes out? You’ll be chasing your tail all your life. It’s like trying to keep up with teenage fashion.

If you’re fresh out of college, the same rules don’t apply. You’re not an expert in anything yet, even if your youth arrogance screams otherwise. You haven’t dealt with clients that will have your head on a spike if you don’t meet the deadline. You didn’t have junior freelancers do half the work, encrypt their code and disappear. You didn’t have to take over large teams that wasted millions of dollars and haven’t even finished arguing about the framework. Those are the real problems.

When you didn’t swear any allegiances yet, you are free to choose your language. So choose one that has potential in your eyes, one that has strong community support (even if it’s not an open source language), one that has good job prospects, one that has training and conferences available… this is what’s going to affect your life most, and not some pretty syntax.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that it’s not helpful to attack a programming language based on function names, frequency of releases, syntax, market share and other meaningless aspects. The real questions that you should be asking are whether your sh*t can be written in that language and whether you can get a well-paid job or contract. Finally, a diversity of languages and philosophies should be encouraged, so that we can learn from them and bring the concepts back to our own little world and flourish.

13 thoughts on “Their Programming Language Sucks!

  1. Julien Grenier

    Personally, I believe that programmers should learn and code in at least one new programming language per year.
    This strategy keeps you update to date and it’s a good exercise for the brain (The euler’s problem are a good way to learn a new language by the way).

    But it also allows you to build your own opinion on all those languages and to know which to use given a specific problem to solve.

    I think it’s time programmer starts to behave like professional and this means that programmers should train themselves, just like musician or hockey player train themselves to keep getting better.

  2. @Julien Grenier I completely agree with you. Just last month, I coded in two new languages.

  3. i am a devoted Php developer, despite all the criticisms. it is powrrful, flexible and prevalent. however, i was faced with a project that required. net. i have to say, picking up a book on ASP and C# had me up and running quickly and i gained some admiration for the language. Some things felt awkward , and some thing that i could do in PHO very quickly with a library here or there was not so easy, but Visual Studio has some nice features and the integration with the server is top notch.

    the biggest lesson was about choosing the right rook for the job is much more important that the tool itself.

    great poat

  4. I agree with you in the fact that you shouldn’t become a “bandwagoner” and jump ship on your foundation language. I also feel moving to another language after years of development in another would be detrimental to your career or skills. I’ve been developing in PHP for 10 years now, but if I chose to develop python or ruby it wouldn’t be a lose to any clients. I have developed a better understanding of concepts and philosophies. It is merely learning new syntax and conventions, which in turn expands my thinking in regard to PHP.

    I totally understand what the point of your blog post was, but there is no need to scare people from dabbling in the “new hotness”. As in any profession, be responsible and make the best educated decisions to help yourself and your clients.

  5. @Jake Smith I haven’t realized that I sounded like someone who doesn’t like hot new stuff. I like new stuff, I just don’t like hearing people who discover “new hotness” say that everything else is now crap.

  6. @Anna agreed. “everything else is crap” is a bit unprofessional and maybe more emotionally driven.

  7. Great post Anna… programmers should look to learn a new language every few years… master a few but be able to use the features of another for practical purposes…

  8. Great post. I wrote about it in my blog (in portuguese) a few months ago.

    I teach programming and I see students saying things like “my language is better, yours is crap” all the time. The question isn’t the language but what you can do with it =D


  9. DSB

    Totally agree. Good coding is about architecture, concepts, quality assurance and maintainence. The language is just the tool with which you execute your concepts. The ones who keep on flaming other languages simply just don’t know how to implement their concepts in other languages.
    It’s like discussing about what’s the best car: Mercedes or BMW. Both can bring you home if you operate them properly.

  10. Petah

    Who are you kidding, PHP is way better and RoR and always will be.

  11. Commands & syntax of Programming languages should be sweet and simple like current era CMS applications. I have seen so many scare to touch any of the programming languages because of its complexity.

  12. Sebs


  13. Anna dear,

    Our brain is limitless and we should do whatever we like. This is so true: all languages are beautiful and suck at some point. Just like real world languages. But you don’t need 10 years to learn a language (you don’t need also to become an expert)… Because the funny part is not to know the language or to become something but to learn and make money each time in a easier way 🙂

    By the way, I love you blog.

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