The Strange Loop Conference in St. Louis, MO hosted a panel on the Future of Programming Languages last month. The participants discussed trends they'd seen in programming languages lately, type checking, proving code correctness, programming education and more. Today, InfoQ posted a video of the panel.

The participants were:

  • Guy Steele - Who helped with the creation or standardization of Lisp, Scheme, C, Fortran, EcmaScript, Java, and Fortress.
  • Douglas Crockford - The author of JavaScript: The Good Parts and the creator of JSON.
  • Josh Bloch - Who lead the design of core parts of the JDK.
  • Alex Payne - The co-author of Programming Scala.
  • Bruce Tate - The author of Seven Languages in Seven Weeks.

On the subject of programming language trends, Tate noted: Erlang's BEAM for dealing with sloppy code, the push for programming languages to be able to handle concurrency, and the rise of "lazy semantics."

Bloch noted a trend towards ever-increasing complexity and suggested anyone considering writing a programming language limit the spec to only 50 pages. He also commented on the need for an end-to-end programming language for web development, since modern web developers must stitch together code from multiple languages.

Steele, playing off Bloch's mention of BEAM, mentioned the rise of databases that allow programmers to be messy and suggested that we might be seeing a trend towards "sloppy programming."

Payne noted the trend of building interoperable languages on existing VMs. For example, Scala, Clojure and JRuby can all interoperate because they're all built on the JVM.

Crockford noted that we're in an experimental era of programming in which lots of new languages are getting created and used. He also said one trend he hopes we'll see is better security support in programming languages.

It's well worth watching the whole video.