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Programming with a different approach than Java

Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 421
    
    1
I had the idea lately to study something different than Java. I have experience in C, Delphi, C++, Java, C#, VB. These are all languages that have about the same approach, right? Just for widening my view, I am thinking of studying a language that has a bit of an another view to programming. Do you have an idea what could be a good option. What should be different than the C-like languages, but still common enough in the market it has some use for me.
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42277
    
  64
Functional languages like Scala and Clojure come to mind. Those would leverage your Java knowledge to some degree. There was a recent discussion about that in http://www.coderanch.com/t/633750/books/Functional-Programming-Books-read-Reilly.


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chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1772
    
  14

Scala is definitely growing fast and is already used by a number of big companies - including some in the Netherlands I believe. It's likely to become more common as it is starting to look like the language of choice for at least some kinds of "big data" applications e.g. using Apache Spark on Hadoop.

Clojure is also interesting - it's a Lisp so it's very different from Scala, but it's fun to use and there are jobs around, although fewer than for Scala.

Back in the mainstream, I'm finding Python is a really useful tool to have available for scripting, data-munging and for quick prototype applications where Java would be too heavy. It's widely used, and it's fun to work with, especially after Java.

Bear regularly suggests people take the time to learn JavaScript properly, and there are lots of new libraries etc in JavaScript that are becoming popular. Not an area I know much about however.

Maybe pick up a copy of Seven languages In Seven Weeks. It's a few years out of date now, but it will give you a good overview of a range of languages outside the mainstream.

Or you could look beyond programming languages e.g. try learning a NoSQL database with one of MongoDB's regular free online programming classes.


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61421
    
  67

chris webster wrote:Bear regularly suggests people take the time to learn JavaScript properly, and there are lots of new libraries etc in JavaScript that are becoming popular.

As long as one truly wants to go "with a different approach than Java". The downfall of many a developer moving to JavaScript from Java is trying to treat JavaScript as if it were Java. The results, of course, are always disastrous¹.



¹ I know. I have the scars to prove it.

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Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 421
    
    1
Back in the mainstream


Right, right! I always make the mistake that I am too much a jack of all trades, master of none. I should not study something nobody uses, or nobody wants from me. Like last year I learnt myself Korean to impress the girls in our Korean office. :-)
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 421
    
    1
Thank you Ulf, Chris, Bear for the advices, I will take a look at it. It would be interesting I think.
Piet Souris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 08, 2009
Posts: 650
    
  11
hi Jan,

well, for 'something completely different': many Dutch insurance companies nowadays use a package called 'MoSes',
from the Towers & Watson company. This package is about creating some hierarchical data structure,
and on each level you can define methods, using a subset of C++ and some in-built structures like
loops and storing facilities, and you can define all sorts of reports in it.

After you've done, this package then creates genuine C++ files, and these get compiled by a MicroSoft
compiler.

The idea is that you calculate, for say 80 years into the future, what happens to some portfolio,
so that one can determine the so called 'Market Value', including valuing all kinds of guarantees that may
have been given on these portfolios. Big business currently, with the upcoming IFRS 4 and Solvency 2
regimes, and all sorts of other regulations according to rules that originated from the SOx (Sarbane Oxley,
from Enron fame).

Since about the last 7 years, I have been heavily involved in this kind of business, and as said: big business
nowadays.

Greetz,
Piet
chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1772
    
  14

chris webster wrote:Clojure is also interesting ...

Just in case you're interested, there's a new free online course from Helsinki University on Functional Programming In Clojure. It's in English and aimed at Clojure beginners so it starts with the absolute basics. I've just worked through the first module and it seems like a nice course so far. It's all automated using Github - you submit your answers to the exercises via Github and some magic happens to run them through a CI engine which tests your code. They also provide unit tests for all the exercises (using the Clojure Midje library) so your task is to make the tests pass as you work through the module. Anyway, it looks like fun and I need something to do in the evenings for the next few weeks (World Cup, Wimbledon, Commonwealth Games...).

One tip: they suggest using the Light Table IDE, which is very clever and sleek, but I find it rather confusing and it's not very well-documented. So I'm just using an editor and the Leiningen command-line tool (Clojure's powerful equivalent to Maven/Gradle or SBT) instead, which is fine.

@Piet:
Wow. So can you tell me if I will ever be able to afford to retire?
Piet Souris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 08, 2009
Posts: 650
    
  11
chris webster wrote:(...)
Wow. So can you tell me if I will ever be able to afford to retire?


hi Chris,

well, it depends. First of all: have you been participating in some pension scheme,
or saving plan, perhaps from your employer? For instance, a 'defined benefit'
or 'defined contribution' agreement?

If so, then have a look at the entitlements. To what annual pension are you entitled?
If that is high enough to meet your retirement livings requirements, then in principle,
you're fine, however, there is one additional issue.

Do you happen to have maybe a dozen or so ex-spouses? Here in Holland,
according to legislation, and depending on the conditions under which a marriage
took place, the ex-wife is entitled to a part of the old age pension that you built up
during that marriage.

But the good news is: thanks to all the billions of calculations that your insurer perform
every month, it will have sufficient provisions to pay out your pension (well, that is, if it
doesn't go bankrupt before that time....)

Greetz,
Piet
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39408
    
  28
Piet Souris wrote: . . . Do you happen to have maybe a dozen or so ex-spouses? . . .
Argument for having a harem instead?

Surely it cuts both ways and you would be entitled to one‑twelfth of each of your exes' pensions, too?

Have you ever tried FORTH? Or LISP? Now those are different approaches
 
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