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Ask Slashdot: What's the best rapid development language to learn today?

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month and a half ago

2

An anonymous reader writes "Many years ago, I was a coder—but I went through my computer science major when they were being taught in Lisp and C. These days I work in other areas, but often need to code up quick data processing solutions or interstitial applications. Doing this in C now feels archaic and overly difficult and text-based. Most of the time I now end up doing things in either Unix shell scripting (bash and grep/sed/awk/bc/etc.) or PHP. But these are showing significant age as well.

I'm no longer the young hotshot that I once was—I don't think that I could pick up an entire language in a couple of hours with just a cursory reference work—yet I see lots of languages out there now that are much more popular and claim to offer various and sundry benefits.

I'm not looking to start a new career as a programmer—I already have a career—but I'd like to update my applied coding skills to take advantage of the best that software development now has to offer.

Ideally, I'd like to learn a language that has web relevance, mobile relevance, GUI desktop applications relevance, and also that can be integrated into command-line workflows for data processing—a language that is interpreted rather than compiled, or at least that enables rapid, quick-and-dirty development, since I'm not developing codebases for clients or for the general software marketplace, but rather as one-off tools to solve a wide variety of problems, from processing large CSV dumps from databases in various ways to creating mobile applications to support field workers in one-off projects (i.e. not long-term applications that will be used for operations indefinitely, but quick solutions to a particular one-time field data collection need).

I'm tired of doing these things in bash or as web apps using PHP and responsive CSS, because I know they can be done better using more current best-of-breed technologies. Unfortunately, I'm also severely strapped for time—I'm not officially a coder or anything near it; I just need to code to get my real stuff done and can't afford to spend much time researching/studying multiple alternatives. I need the time that I invest in this learning to count.

Others have recommended Python, Lua, Javascript+Node, and Ruby, but I thought I'd ask the Slashdot crowd: If you had to recommend just one language for rapid tool development (not for the development of software products as such—a language/platform to produce means, not ends) with the best balance of convenience, performance, and platform coverage (Windows, Mac, Unix, Web, Mobile, etc.) what would you recommend, and why?"

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2 comments

Java (1)

JRC86 (3694711) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239635)

I'd look into Java, it's crossplatform, syntax like C/C++. Check it out or wait for something better :>

Node.js (+nodekit if necessary) (1)

haneefmubarak (2383338) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239785)

While I don't personally use the whole NodeJS+JS+CSS+HTML stack, I think that it could be useful for the goals you outlined above.

JS is pretty easy to learn, and the whole web stack of HTML5+CSS3+JS5 works pretty well on pretty much every modern browser on most platforms.

It's rather convenient because it offers a REPL, which allows you to try out whatever it is that you want. It's also rather simulative of an interpreted language in that regard, which is one of the things you asked for.

Since Node is JIT'ed (V8), as are most JS implementations (V8, WebKit, SpiderMonkey, etc.), the performance is reasonably fast. As long as your code isn't particularly obtuse, you should be okay on the speed and energy-saving fronts.

Finally, using something like nodekit [github.com] (Node+WebKit) allows you to create actual deployable desktop applications that are easy for users to use. It also lets you easily plug in functionality from C libraries into your application. For a good example of a project that uses nodekit, see Popcorn Time [github.com] .



Now personally, I use C, but that's mainly because the majority of the work I do is server/CLI oriented. And hey, that's just me.
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