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RE: Dylan (was: ARC)

I think Guido was clued into this, hence the first Python book wasn't a
general python programming introduction, instead it was "Internet
Programming with Python".


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
[mailto:owner-ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu]On Behalf Of Paul Prescod
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2001 8:37 AM
To: ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
Subject: Re: Dylan (was: ARC)

Oliver Steele wrote:
> We called this the "killer app" model of language development, and it
> a nice story.  Regular expression searches are the killer app for Perl;
> client-side web page interactivity is the killer app for JavaScript;
> server-side web page generation is the killer app for php.  I think it's
> worth looking at language success in terms of this model.

It is my personal opinion that this is what has been holding Python back
and will hold Ruby back for all of these years. When people ask: "what
is this language good for" the answer they do NOT want is "everything".
They want to hear that it solves some new problem that they will be
asked to solve in the next year. On the other hand, killer app languages
can have difficult climbing out of their problem domains. Perl is
undergoing its second(?) rewrite. PHP is struggling to catch up in areas
like exception handling and threads. JavaScript was "supposed to" become
a major server-side language but never really did.

Now if we accept the thesis that C's killer app was Unix programming,
then I wonder if any language has ever achieved mainstream popularity
without such an app. Microsoft's C# move shows that they believe that
the environment is more important than the language because clearly C#
would never take off in a straightforward competition of languages
running on the JVM. It isn't "better enough" to beat Java on its own

 Paul Prescod