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7 reasons why frameworks are the new programming languages

Peter Wayner | March 31, 2015
Thanks to powerful tools, the need for speed, and the shifting nature of programming itself, your next nerd fight will be over framework APIs, not syntax

Tools like AndroidBuilder make it possible to drag and drop much of the layout, and AndroidBuilder will dutifully write the XML and Java stubs needed to make the code work. It's hard to argue that visual languages are going to be the future, especially after they failed repeatedly to realize the prophecy, but the tools are growing more visual when they can be. This means languages are a bit less powerful or important.

Code is law

Computer languages are largely agnostic. They're designed to be open, accepting, and almost infinitely malleable. They're meant to do whatever you want. Sure, sometimes you need to use a few extra characters because of the syntax, but those are merely keystrokes. After that, it's mainly if-then-elses, plus occasional clever bits. All of the language will still help you get the results you want the way you want to get them. If there are strictures, they're designed to keep your code as bug-free as possible, not limit what you can do.

Frameworks are where the power lies. This is where architects can decide what is allowed and what is inherently forbidden. If the architect doesn't want something to happen, the magic function call is missing from the API. If the architect likes the idea, there are usually multiple function calls and plenty of supporting tools. This is why Larry Lessig, the Harvard law professor, likes to say, "Code is Law."

The frameworks establish the rules for their corner of the Internet and you must live within them once you choose them. Some blogging platforms encourage linking with others through AJAX calls and some don't support them. That's why you must investigate carefully and choose wisely. It's ultimately why frameworks dominate every part of our lives, even those few moments when we're not programming.


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