Software – Living On The Edge

Software - Living on the Edge

Most companies today rely on Python, Ruby, JavaScript, C#, PHP, Swift, or Java to develop digital products and services. If we rewind time by just a decade or two, the list of leading development languages looks completely different. And the same holds if we could jump forward to 2030 and beyond.

Exactly which programming languages will power businesses of the future is anyone's guess. We'll use this article to highlight five languages with serious next-generation potential.

KOTLIN

WHAT IS KOTLIN?

Kotlin is a general-purpose language first released in 2011. Created by JetBrains, a European software shop known for its development environments, Kotlin started as an in-house project designed to address shortcomings in other JVM languages used by the company. Since its initial release, the language has emerged as a promising next-generation technology with strong support from Google. In fact, as of May 2019, Google officially named Kotlin its preferred language for Android app developers.

WHO USES IT?

Because the language was designed to interoperate with Java, and additionally compiles to JavaScript or native code, it’s fast becoming an industry favorite. According to a 2019 StackOverflow survey,Kotlin ranked as the fourth most loved programming language.

Companies using Kotlin in production include Kickstarter, Pinterest, Evernote, Coursera, and Uber.

THE FUTURE OF KOTLIN?

With Scala, Groovy, Clojure, and many others, you may be wondering: does the world need yet another JVM language? If you listen to Heroku, the answer is yes. They say we "need Kotlin as an alternative to Java just as we needed Java as an alternative to C twenty years ago. Our existing JVM languages are great, but none of them have demonstrated the potential to become the de facto language of choice for a large percentage of JVM developers."

ELIXIR

WHAT IS ELIXIR?

Elixir is a general-purpose functional language built atop the Erlang virtual machine. Like Erlang, Elixir is ideal for heavily trafficked applications where concurrency is essential. Introduced to the public in 2011, Elixir is still coming of age and hopes to become the language of choice for highly available (non-stop), fault-tolerant software that runs on distributed systems.

WHO USES IT?

Since Elixir is specifically designed to handle large-scale concurrent programs, it is favored by high volume platforms such as Pinterest, Discord, and WhatsApp - the latter boasting over 450 million users managed by a team of just 32 engineers.

Others known to use Elixir in production include the ad serving platform AdRoll, SEO analytics company Moz, and Goldman Sachs.

THE FUTURE OF ELIXIR?

The number of web-connected devices is growing at an exponential clip. Some predict there might be over 30 billion devices online within the next year. As this number continues to balloon, languages emphasizing concurrency will be relied upon to create the underlying infrastructure to support billions of interconnected "things" seamlessly.

TYPESCRIPT

WHAT IS TYPESCRIPT?

DZone describes TypeScript as "an object-oriented programming language developed and maintained by the Microsoft Corporation. It is a superset of JavaScript and contains all of its elements and it can run on any environment that JavaScript runs on. Unlike its counterparts, TypeScript does not need a dedicated VM or a specific runtime environment to execute."

WHO USES IT?

According to StackOverflow, TypeScript currently ranks as the 3rd most loved language, just behind Rust and Python. Platforms like Slack, OpenGov, and Asana are known to use TypeScript in production.

THE FUTURE OF TYPESCRIPT?

Given the many pitfalls and shortcomings of native JavaScript, an easier to use, more robust language like TypeScript has enormous potential, especially when developing large-scale applications.

RUST

WHAT IS RUST?

Released in 2010, Rust is a fast-rising system programming language. Created by Mozilla, Rust is billed by some as a new age C or C++, two foundational languages that are nearing 50 and 35 years old, respectively. Rust aims to improve on the past by providing more straightforward, fail-resistant techniques for managing memory and concurrency.

WHO USES IT?

Rust is highly revered by the community it serves and has been crowned the most loved programming language every year since 2016. The language is currently being used in high contact environments at Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, and Reddit. Further, Facebook is using the language to buildout Libra, its blockchain-based digital currency. And in 2017, The Tor Project announced it had started experimentally porting code originally written in C over to Rust due to its more robust security features.

THE FUTURE OF RUST?

As you may know, Rust isn't the only C-inspired language created to bring system-level programming into the 21st century. Others like D (or Dlang) and Google's Go (or Golang) have similar aspirations. Which (if any) language becomes the new gold standard for low-level development is still anyone's guess. But given its passionate community and meteoric rise, Rust is chock-full of next-gen potential.

HCL

WHAT IS HCL?

HCL is fast becoming an essential tool within the DevOps community. Short for HashiCorp Configuration Language, HCL is a human-readable language for defining and provisioning data centers. HashiCorp says the goal is "to build a structured configuration language that is both human and machine-friendly for use with command-line tools but specifically targeted towards DevOps tools, servers, etc."

WHO USES IT?

According to GitHub, HCL ranks among the fastest-growing languages on its platform. In fact, "the number of contributors writing HCL has more than doubled since 2017."

Reporting by Stack Share suggests Intuit, Uber, Twitch, and Slack likely use HCL.

THE FUTURE OF HCL?

Considering that DevOps in the enterprise is on an upward swing, HCL will almost certainly be around for the foreseeable future.

AUTHOR - Nate Aswege

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