While I was working towards a deadline and Christmas, it became something of a meme to write short articles listing the languages you've used, and making short, positive statements about each. I wondered at the time if I could do it, and if it was worth while bothering.
It turns out that doing so unearths lots of programming history that I actually think rather fondly of, on the whole. Apart from maybe when I had to—but that's hardly in the spirit of the meme. Here's a list, that I can't guarantee is entirely complete, in alphabetical order.
- Applescript a neat way of communicating with a Mac, in a language that's a bit like a subset of natural English; enough to make programming feel like a relationship.
- ASP/VBScript gets dynamic content on the web really easily, closely enough to BASIC for newbies to understand, and with potentially strong security controls
- Bash strongly linear feel to it, with the central idea of a chain or pipe of statements which are powerful enough to do what you want, and smart enough to generally just do it and shut up.
- BASIC my first ever language, so easy that children who can't understand the languages every programmer likes their children to understand, can understand
- C startlingly pure and sharp, making you feel when you're debugging it like your computer's case has suddenly gone transparent and you can see its brains
- ColdFusion enabling rapid, sloppy, easy prototyping, to create a fully-functioning web application in the time it takes you to sneeze some angle brackets
- Erlang like playing with an army of tiny helpful aliens, the ones out of Toy Story, who bat messages to each other without you having to tell them all the time
- Java strongly-typed, robustly-built object orientation that you feel you can trust your weight to, and which has become truly platform independent
- MATLAB rich in maths and programming alike, it's how I imagine Mathematica would be if it let you goof off more often
- Pascal strong typing and logical program structuring means you know where things are going to go and what they're going to do and stops sprawl
- Perl the mother of all modern scripting languages and a religion rather than a language, when it does something clever it does it with a wry smile
- PHP fast, powerful, web-native, complex, C-based, unfairly-derided, underestimated, just-do-it charmer and helpmate that keeps the web running well
- PostScript the C of typesetting and printing, arcane and brooding, oddly satisfying to hack around in its arcane declarations to get a diagram just right
- Python fun, smart, objects-all-the-way toolkit with beautiful exceptions that can do anything and lets you actually program in ways that are just unfeasible in any other language
- *SQL like Applescript, feels like a good compromise between natural language and a computer's thoughts, and even its derivatives have a purity of purpose
- XMLScript sadly retired early contender for XSL's crown, a cheery, self-modifying, tree-based language for modifying XML documents
- XSLT utterly XML native and (especially when compiled down) blisteringly fast gateway drug into functional programming, that most developers can still comprehend
Edit: now it's your turn!