Others suggest that developer passion will produce the dominant language. Perl and Python attract some of the smartest minds who see programming as a craft. Their insight and devotion to creating elegant solutions is bound to produce a great platform in two years.
Hearts and minds
The same credibility with programming hipsters, however, can scare away the bulk of programmers and limit a language to a niche. This isn't fatal, but it can come close if the masses flock to something simpler. The cool library writers can follow demand.
Some want to place their bets on Ruby on Rails, a striking and elegant solution that produces sophisticated results in no time. A few lines of code produce a full interface with all of the pages necessary to create, update, and delete records.
This simplicity often turns into shackles when the programmers reach the edge of the framework's capabilities. Changing little details or producing slightly unorthodox output can be maddening.
There are many other options. Some developers love Groovy, the dynamic language integrated with the Java API. A programmer gets the rock-solid foundation of compiled Java code mixed with the flexibility to diddle with the Java objects in real time.
All of the languages mentioned above have enough of critical mass behind them to succeed and even flourish in the future. The right answer for you will depend more on the nature of your business and the structure of your data than on whether one platform becomes cooler than yours.
Toward that end, here are 10 principles that will guide the evolution of scripting languages in the future. None of these will offer the definitive answer and save you from a long evening of dessert, liquid refreshment, and debate, but they will provide some guidance that may make the answer appear with more clarity.
1. The semantic barriers won't be as important as the languages rush to steal good ideas from one and other. The dynamic languages are blurring together faster than they're distinguishing themselves.
2. Frameworks are becoming even more dominant. Some people identify themselves as Django developers even though they're writing Python code. Ruby has been around for years, but it didn't become a rock star until it was matched with the Rails framework.