Programming Languages: Is newer always better?

I constantly hear the belief that modern programming languages and environment are better than older programming languages. More productive, easier to user, and so on. It would stand to reason: nobody would make a new programming language with worse features than an already existing programming language. Or would they?

Everyone seems to think that this is fact. But surprisingly it's not. There are many features in older programming languages which are not present in today's languages. I predict these features will be re-invented by the next generation of programming languages authors, and everyone will think they are geniuses for having come up with these ideas. But at the same time those new languages will omit most of the good points of today's languages. This cycle can go on forever.

It's like the cycle that tends to take place of "the network" vs "the standalone computer".

A few facts, for those who think there was no programming before Javascript, the web:

Consider the following:

The above is a list of things that have got worse over the last 2 decades, I.e. they haven't just not got better by staying the same, but these things have actually got worse.

This article is © Adrian Smith.
It was originally published on 26 Mar 2008
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