Thursday, August 03, 2006

Reports from the Lang.NET 2006 Symposium

As mentioned in this earlier OakLeaf post, the Lang.NET 2006 Programming Languages and Compilers Symposium was held on July 31 through August 2, 2006 at the Microsoft Redmond campus. The organizers describe the symposium as a "forum for discussion on programming languages, managed execution environments, compilers, multi-language libraries, and integrated development environments. The event followed July's O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Oregon. Jason Bock's .NET Languages blog delivers a blow-by-blow account of each day's presentations. According to Jason, the symposium attracted about 80 attendees. Following are links to Jason's pages with presenter names and abbreviated topics: Monday, July 31, 2006

Bryan Tyler also covered Day 1 on the Lycangeek blog, as did Werner Moise (Spec#). Tuesday, August 1, 2006 *Note: Jason mentions that Paul Vick "began with the Linus Torvalds quote that's going around these days about his view on VB." See the full quotation in the later "Linus Torvalds on Visual Basic" section. Bryan Tyler covered Day 2, also. Wednesday, August 2, 2006 Werner Moise adds more about F#, Don Syme, and the Research Pipeline. Note: The preceding lists differ slightly from the original symposium agenda and speaker list. Linus Torvalds on Visual Basic Linus Torvalds recently responded to Jaroslaw Rzeszotko's question, "What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, Y-language, quantum computers, what?" question:

I don’t think we’ll see a "big jump". We’ve seen a lot of tools to help make all the everyday drudgery easier - with high-level languages and perhaps the integration of simple databases into the language being the main ones. But most of the buzz-words have been of pretty limited use.

For example, I personally believe that Visual Basic did more for programming than "Object-Oriented Languages" did. Yet people laugh at VB and say it’s a bad language, and they’ve been talking about OO languages for decades. And no, Visual Basic wasn’t a great language, but I think the easy DB interfaces in VB were fundamentally more important than object orientation is, for example. So I think there will be a lot of incremental improvements, and the hardware improvements will make programming easier, but I don’t expect any huge productivity help or revolutions in how people do things. At least not until you start approaching real AI, and I don’t think real AI is going to be anything you will ever "program."

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