Bill Venners just posted the first of an installment of articles with Yukihiro Matsumoto, the creator of the programming language Ruby. Specifically, they talk about the how Ruby wasn’t designed to the the ‘perfect’ language (but rather a language that feels good when used), and “… the danger of orthogonality, granting freedom with guidance, the principle of least surprise and the importance of the human in computer endeavors.”
I thought the quote “Language designers want to design the perfect language.” could also be re-phrased as “Programmers want to feel like their language is the perfect lanaguage.” I know this blog is being syndicated through fullasagoog.com (as a ColdFusion blog) and also through markme.com (as a Java blog) and I read alot of the blogs on both sites, as well as some of the blogs on weblogs.asp.net and javablogs.com. It’s interesting that all of the above mentioned sites (not to mention slashdot) are generally short sighted when it comes to the subject of what language is better (reference discussions re: Java as the SUV of programming languages, PHP vs. ASP.NET, MX vs. .NET) and hammer away at how x is better than y. I think Yukihiro is right, there isn’t a ‘perfect programming’ language and there never will be. Macromedia employees probably aren’t encouraged to say this, but I’d encourage anyone writing a ColdFusion application to try and write a similar application in ASP.NET or in Java using Struts or in ASP.. or even Ruby. You’ll be amazed at how things you’ll learn.