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7 programming languages we love to hate -- but can’t live without

Peter Wayner | May 24, 2016
Tools masquerading as languages, maddening syntax, dusty code that won’t die -- here's what has us shaking our fists.

None of these issues matter. Java is a foundation for the Web and mobile phones. It’s the first language taught in many high schools. The collection of libraries is deeper and more valuable than almost any other language. Why would anything use anything else?

Language we love to hate: Python

It’s a modern language that the younger kids dig. The punctuation is sparse, and the code looks a bit cleaner. What’s not to love? Well, there’s the gap between Python 2.7 and 3.0. It was the only choice they had for moving the language forward, but the leap is large enough that you need to keep track of which syntax you’re using. We will forever be checking to see which version of Python is installed.

And how many people like counting all of the spaces used to indent blocks of code? Counting curly brackets is painful, but counting whitespace requires a monospace editor.

None of this matters because the soft science crowd has fallen for Python with all the warm, fuzzy emotions that kept them out of the hard sciences. Biologists and economists think Python is the only thing. Some even propose requiring Python code in new prospectuses for stocks and bonds so that investment bankers will be able to bamboozle us with Python instead of fractured lawyer-speak.

The good news is that It’s easier to read Python than the so-called English coming from the fingers of lawyers. That’s an improvement -- even if it means counting all of those spaces. The bandwagon has left the station, and it’s full of soft scientists.


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