With my colleague Ian Cartwright, I recently delivered a talk on programming language adoption at ThoughtWorks EU Quarterly Technology Briefing.
Gone are the days when your company was limited to C++ or Java. The last few years have seen an explosion of programming languages promising “10x more productivity” or a “quicker return on investment” but what is the reality behind these claims? Programming language choice has an impact far beyond the immediate, after all COBOL applications still perform billions of business critical transactions every day and an estimated 86-94%* of software cost is incurred post development. In addition, the world of computing is changing, Moore’s Law still holds, but in an unexpected way – we can no longer rely on faster CPUs to boost performance, instead we need to have multiple CPU cores. So what does this mean for language choice in the Enterprise? This Quarterly Technology Briefing will explore these dilemmas and offer practical advice on how to balance often opposing concerns; stability vs innovation; fast to market vs easy to maintain; fashion vs staff retention; etc. We’ll do this by looking at historical motivations for changing patterns of language use and ask which of those, alongside which new forces and pressures should we be considering today.