Seeing as that I’ve got all these visitors from /. over Shelley’s very cool article entitled “The Parable of the Languages“, I figured I’d throw-down some old-school grins of my own and revive the following article I first posted back in July.
First let me say how much I appreciate you tech bloggers. Not only have you had the patience to deal with me changing servers, but on the one or two instances when you disagree with me on an issue, you do it in a civilized and reasonable fashion. I love you all for that more than you know.
Okay, gushing side. Here is a reward for your patience and professionalism. What you are about to read is a total rip-off of a thread that has been tossed about the usenet for years, originally attributed by everyone’s favorite online author, Anonymous. And like a good bean-burrito, and bears repeating.
So without any further adieu (you’ve just seen the limits of my French), I offer you:
Mean Deans Semi-Definitive Guide to Selecting a Programming Language.
With the proliferation of modern programming languages which seem to have stolen countless features from each other sometimes makes it difficult to select a which language appropriate for your task. This guide is offered as a public service to help programmers in such dilemmas.
The key to this guide is to remember its one and only easy-to-remember and abide-by criteria – Shooting Yourself in the Foot.
C: You shoot yourself in the foot. C++: You accidently create a dozen instances of yourself and shoot them all in the foot. Providing emergency medical care is impossible since you can't tell which are bitwise copies and which are just pointing at others and saying, "that's me, over there." C#: The gun fires just fine, but your foot can't figure out where the bullets are and ignores them. Java: The gun fires just fine, but your foot can't figure out what the bullets are and ignores them. Ada: If you are dumb enough to actually use this language, the United States Department of Defense will kidnap you, stand you up in front of a firing squad, and tell the soldiers, "Shoot at his feet." Algol: You shoot yourself in the foot with a musket. The musket is esthetically fascinating, and the wound baffles the adolescent medic in the emergency room. APL: You hear a gunshot, and there's a hole in your foot, but you don't remember enough linear algebra to understand what happened. Assembly: You crash the OS and overwrite the root disk. The system administrator arrives and shoots you in the foot. After a moment of contemplation, the administrator shoots himself in the foot and then hops around the room rabidly shooting at everyone in sight. 80x86 Assembly: The gun isn't in the same segment as your feet, so you can't shoot them. BASIC: Shoot self in foot with water pistol. On big systems, continue until entire lower body is waterlogged. COBOL: USEing a COLT45 HANDGUN, AIM gun at LEG.FOOT, THEN place ARM.HAND.FINGER on HANDGUN.TRIGGER, and SQUEEZE. THEN return HANDGUN to HOLSTER. Check whether shoelace needs to be retied. dBase: You squeeze the trigger, but the bullet moves so slowly that by the time your foot feels the pain you've forgotten why you shot yourself anyway. dBase IV version 1.0: You pull the trigger, but it turns out that the gun was a poorly-designed grenade and the whole building blows up. XBase: Shooting yourself is no problem. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, you'll have to use Clipper. Clipper: You grab a bullet, get ready to insert it in the gun so that you can shoot yourself in the foot, and discover that the gun that the bullet fits has not yet been built, but should be arriving in the mail _REAL_SOON_NOW_. Forth: yourself foot shoot. FORTRAN: You shoot yourself in each toe, iteratively, until you run out of toes, then you read in the next foot and repeat. If you run out of bullets, you continue anyway because you have no exception- processing ability. Modula/2: After realizing that you can't actually accomplish anything in the language, you shoot yourself in the head. sh, csh, etc.: You can't remember the syntax for anything, so you spend five hours reading man pages before giving up. You then shoot the computer and switch to C. Smalltalk: You spend so much time playing with the graphics and windowing system that your boss shoots you in the foot, takes away your workstation, and makes you develop in COBOL on a character terminal. PL/I: You consume all available system resources, including all the offline bullets. The DataProcessing&Payroll Department doubles its size, triples its budget, acquires four new mainframes, and drops the original one on your foot. Prolog: You attempt to shoot yourself in the foot, but the bullet, failing to find its mark, backtracks to the gun which then explodes in your face. PowerBuilder: While attempting to load the gun you discover that the LoadGun system function is buggy; as a work around you tape the bullet to the outside of the gun and unsuccessfully attempt to fire it with a nail. In frustration you club your foot with the butt of the gun and explain to your client that this approximates the functionality of shooting yourself in the foot and that the next version of Powerbuilder will fix it. SNOBOL: You grab your foot with your hand, then rewrite your hand to be a bullet. The act of shooting the original foot then changes your hand/bullet into yet another foot (a left foot). lisp: You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds... scheme: You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds... ...but none of the other appendages are aware of this happening. English: You put your foot in your mouth, then bite it off. SQL: You cut your foot off, send it out to a service bureau and when it returns, it has a hole in it, but will no longer fit the attachment at the end of your leg. pre .Net Visual Basic: You'll appear to shoot yourself in the foot, but have so much fun doing it that you don't care. VB.Net: You write about 100 lines of code to print "Hello, world!" in a dialogue box, only to have a UAE pop up when you click on OK. This shuts down the program manager, leaving you nothing but a screensaver. You then fly to Washington where Bill Gates shoots you in the foot. Unix: % ls foot.c foot.h foot.o toe.c toe.o % rm * .o rm: .o: No such file or directory % ls %
Edit/Add to the list
Okay boys and girls, now its your turn. Use the comments section to add, ammend and/or agonize over your favorites. There will be no prizes or awards for the best one, other than the geeky admiration of your nerds-in-arms.