I have to hand it to you, you’re a pretty astute guy. Thanks for an excellent response.

I agree with you about TIOBE–it’s a rather twisted, pathological index. But I wouldn’t write off all language indices. They’re a rough metric of popularity if you look at a number of them with an eye to consistency and correlation. Statistics is the only measure available to us to answer these kinds of questions.

There’s no way to tell how popular Erlang is, but no one can deny it is widely used. Ditto for Dart and Go. (But Go has done remarkably well recently, if you believe in language rankings.)

“…the language is simple enough to attract new programmers…”

Indeed, this is what makes JavaScript a “honey pot” language. It seduces you into adopting this language, then you find yourself in a quagmire of broken semantics, bizarre syntactical warts, and an avalanche of features, thanks to ECMAScript 2015, whose language spec is an alarming 545 pages long!

“…JavaScript is today’s Smalltalk.”

Hardly. Despite JavaScript’s popularity, it is a deeply flawed language, whereas Smalltalk is beautiful in its purity, simplicity and elegance.

Ash: You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.

Lambert: You admire it.

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor...unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.

JavaScript has encouraged the creation of numerous frameworks and tools, but I’m not sure it contributes much in terms of language design. Most of the features that ECMA have added were intended to correct the faults and shortcomings of the language. What have ECMA done to advance language theory? What will future languages borrow from JavaScript?

At any rate, I’m not concerned with the future. I’m concerned with the present, where JavaScript is wholly unsuitable as a serious software engineering tool. You’ve not given me anything to change my mind. I stand by my position.

I’ve written extensively about what I think makes a good language, or a bad language. To be sure, these are my views (shared by many); they are necessarily subjective. You may disagree with them and that’s fine. That’s what makes for healthy debate.

“…not letting people forget how cool Smalltalk used to be before everyone realized that work had to actually get done, somehow.”

This is the kind of ignorance I’m fighting against all the time. Smalltalk is terrific for getting things done. It’s a very practical language that has proven itself in industry over the past three decades. It is an unbelievably productive language. It is only for the vicissitudes of history that Smalltalk failed to gain prominence today (but this is a whole other topic for another day).

BTW, my Eng Language Index is essentially derived from PYPL, another popular language ranking. Is PYPL “laughable?”

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