How big should a programming language be?

Oct 20, 2023

I think language designers can learn something useful from C's example. While we can't declare our languages "complete" we can at some point declare them to be in "minimal evolution" mode. This is decidedly less sexy than, and offers fewer job opportunities to, language designers than continually adding new features — but it also allows users to focus on the tasks they want to program, rather than having to deal with ever more complexity. Slowly, over time, new languages will come along which take the best ideas, simplify and unify them, and can keep the field moving forwards. In general, in my opinion, that's shown itself to be a more successful tactic than hoping that ever-bigger languages can satisfy all users.

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