Dynamic programming futures

JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and other dynamic languages are remaking the Web and bringing programming to the masses. Where should developers place their bets?

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The one Highlander
These principles don't lead to one clear answer for the path of dynamic languages and Web development. The real answer may be that anyone can choose any of the languages as long as they make sure they track and navigate these 10 themes.

For instance, simplicity is an important theme as developers move toward elegant solutions. Ruby on Rails is quite popular because of the straightforward syntax and the tight integration with the database. The best frameworks that speed the development of complex, database-driven applications will triumph. But then, we already knew that.

Many other dynamic languages are already borrowing some of the best concepts from Rails. The Java programmers, for instance, can turn to Grails, a simple framework built on top of Groovy and a JVM.

Speed will always matter. For this reason, JavaScript will become more and more useful as the high-powered competition on the Web influences other uses of the language. Other languages will need to either borrow many of the ideas from the JavaScript core or find a way to benefit from them through emulation.

Slashdot co-founder Rob Malda, who chose to build the site on Perl because of all the good libraries in the CPAN repository, sees the features that attracted him to Perl in nearly every dynamic language today.

"Down the road it seems unlikely that we'd rewrite in Perl, but I have no real guess as to what we would rewrite in," he said. "I suspect Rails would be fast enough in five years to consider it, but who knows?"

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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