Programming Language Tourism

05.10.20191 Min Read — In programming

A key assumption behind my decision to go back to grad school was that I would be free to engage in passion projects and creative coding. Alas, phrases like "that does not sufficiently advance the state-of-the-art" or "that is too engineering-centric" turn out to be the academic equivalent of something failing to demonstrate sufficient near-term business value. As a result, I've decided to deallocate time from graduate studies and research this summer to pursue projects that fulfill me.

The first of these passion projects is working through Bruce A. Tate’s Seven Languages in Seven Weeks. I am attracted to this book precisely because it is impractical. You don’t gain mastery of any programming languages. Rather, you get the chance to explore and complete a series of coding katas to expand your mind about the art of programming. This is the programming language equivalent of backpacking around Europe with a Rick Steve's Guide. I want to explore new cultures and see how others do things and take this apprecation back with me when I return home.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be uploading a series of blog posts forming my "travel log" for this journey. Here are the languages that are on the itinerary:

  • Ruby
  • Io
  • Prolog
  • Scala
  • Erlang
  • Clojure
  • Haskell

With the slight exception of Scala, I haven’t worked with any of these languages before, so my exposure will largely be fresh and confined to the brief tour provided by Bruce Tate. As much as possible, I will try to link and provide interactive online REPLs to show aspects of the languages that I find most compelling.

Stay tuned!

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