Language adoption

Notes from the lecture in Intro to Compilers

Language adoption and development depends quite a bit on economics. The cost of developing a language is primarily in teaching new programmers that language, not in the development itself. This cost frequently falls on the learner. From that, we see specific behaviours in language communities

This cost frequently falls on the learner, especially for those who come from non-conventional backgrounds. Since the cost of a new programming language falls primarily on the learner, WHO ends up in specific programming communities is a function of how much time it takes to become effective in that language.

How long until you can get your first job has a lot to do with which programming language you will specialise in. What kind of job you can get, etc. What kind of job you are seen as being capable of also plays a role. From that, we see specific behaviours in language communities.

Take for example rust, the syntax that rust uses is c like, because it is easier for a large portion of the existing programming population to learn it. There is a lower economic cost to learn it.

Take for example elixir. Its syntax is ruby like, making it easier for ruby developers (the primary audience that elixir targeted) to learn it. It’s inspiration, Erlang, does not have as much adoption. Its syntax is quite unusual for c style programmers, and c style programming is what is taught to most people.

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