Interview with Titans

Channel 9 forums has posted in January a video interview with Anders Hejlsberg (chief architect of C#), Herb Sutter (architect of C++), Erik Meijer (architect of VB.NET and C#) and Brian Beckman (physicist and architect of VB.NET). For one hour they talked about new trends in programming, the new issues and dificulties faced, and what the future could hold. Here are some points from the discussion:

Evolution of programming languages:

  • In the past 10 years the learning curve has changed from learning the syntax to learning the framework; we have big frameworks today, and the syntax is just the cherry on top of that (Anders Hejlsberg)
  • there are two driving forces in language changes (Anders Hejlsberg): 1) make them more productive; one way is to elevate the abstractions (garbage collector, unified type system, etc.), and 2) Take advantage of the progress in hardware (concurrency, 64-bit architectures)
  • You cannot make a language simpler by adding new features (Herb Sutter)

Functional programming:

  • LINQ project tries to demystify the functional programming (Anders Hejlsberg)
  • Gradual increase of awareness of people on functional programming, specially because of languages such as Python (Brian Beckman)

How much abstraction is too much?

  • it’s important to add levels of abstraction; it’s more important the spectrum of abstraction, not the level of abstraction (Anders Hejslberg)
  • you cannot have too much abstraction, because it leaves away necessary details (Erik Meijer)

Where are we going with the languages?

  • fusing of disciplines; what are we doing with many cores? (Anders Hejlsberg)
  • programming languages should look more like mathematics (Brian Beckman)
  • computers should help us program (Erik Meijer)
  • functional programming is an important trend, and being able to address concurrency (Herb Sutter)

The interview is available here.

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