The Language Slapdown, Programming Language, that is

The main topic of November’s monthly J users group meeting (NYCJUG) was The Language Slapdown.  Jedi Knight, Devon McCormick (in the photo on the right),  agreed to represent the array programming language J in this battle of the brains.  He called upon the group to provide feedback.

Sadly, the Slapdown was canceled, but not before I fell in love with the idea.  Why? Because I can’t think of a better way to channel all that ferocious energy that separates programming language aficionados from each other.

The passion behind programming language debates is truly exceptional, and perhaps a little incomprehensible to the rest of us.  I mean, really.  To paraphrase Dave Thomas, It’s easier to work with someone in China than with someone who knows a different programming language.

I wish that I had a team of Neurologists at my disposal, because I’m starting to amass anecdotal evidence that one of the reasons the programming language debates are so strangely polarized is simply because the various languages reflect different modes of thinking.  And these different modes of thinking loosely reflect a diversity of wiring in human brains.

One of the many reasons, both personally and politically, that I am publicly aligning myself with The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, Inc.(GRASP) is that it is an organization which publicly promotes awareness about a constituency of humans who are demonstrably wired in a unique way.  It is a huge mental leap to figure out how to communicate when you can’t make assumptions about the other person in the conversation, based on your own way of thinking.  The bottom line is that it takes education, awareness and practice to effectively communicate with someone who is wired differently than you are.

I challenge you to go think about this for a few moments.

So, the notion of a Language Slapdown should bring to the surface some different ways of thinking.  And besides, it’s a Slapdown so everyone is there to get slapped.

I’ve pretty much decided that the acrimonious battles between programming language followers are a mild curiosity in general.  When you dig down to the details, they border on tedious and boring, so for now, I plan to ignore them.

I will go to a Slapdown, though, given the opportunity.  And that’s Kenneth Lettow on the left, listening to Devon’s presentation.

So, if I plan to sidestep the great programming language debates, what’s next? I’m trying to figure out, with the help of some guest writers in the pipes: How are the array languages being adapted to the modern world?

Stay Tuned.


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