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Polyglot Programming on the Web

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Whether you like it or not, the web platform has become the dominant client-side technology. This fact is so obvious that even Microsoft and Adobe have abandoned their solutions in favour of the web. And as we’re going to build larger and larger applications in the browser, we need to find ways of doing it in a more productive fashion. I believe languages are a big part of it. And that’s where the Javascript community can learn a little bit from Java.

The Java language hasn’t changed much since 2004. Lambdas, modularity (project jigsaw) haven’t made their way into the platform yet, and probably won’t for a couple more years. The main reason of this stagnation is the constraints the designers of the Java platform have to consider evolving it. Most of them don’t exist when you start from scratch.That’s what happened in the Java space. Groovy, Scala, Clojure are the technologies that have been moving the Java platform forward. Runtime and compile time metaprogramming, macros, STM, different flavours of FP, all this goodness is available for you right now, just pick the right language. It’s worth mentioning that the Java language hasn’t disappeared. There are millions of developers happily using it, and there is nothing wrong with it. The goal is not to get rid of Java, but to provider choice.

The Javascript language won’t evolve, at least not with the rate many of us would like it to. And there is not much we can do about it. Creating new languages targeting Javascript and building communities around them is what we should all think about. That’s where the real innovation will happen. Similarly to Clojure, Scala, and Groovy, Dart, ClojureScript, and CoffeeScript will be the languages where the progress will be made.

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