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What do you like in a programming language?

Posted 02-19-2009 at 12:55 AM by PatrickNew

As a hobby/educational project, I'm writing the specification and reference compiler for a programming language. Although education and experience are my primary motivators, I really want write a language that people would use.

So here's my question: What makes a programming language good? Specifically, I'm looking at a strongly, statically typed object-oriented language with some functional aspects, with templating tossed in.

Here's what I've got so far. They are in no particular order. Remember, this is just a wishlist, I'm not claiming to deliver all this by next month .
  • Efficiency
    • Allows for (but doesn't require) optimizations.
    • Doesn't waste (note: 'waste', not 'use') CPU cycles.
    • Doesn't waste (note: 'waste' not 'use') RAM.
  • Clarity
    • Clean syntax.
    • Intuitive semantics.
  • Safety
    • Audited and tested implementation of standard libraries.
    • Support for exceptions.
    • Support for interfaces and their enforcement (in some incarnation or another).
  • Openness
    • A liberally licensed reference compiler.
    • A CPAN-like repository of code.
  • Bind-ability
    • Ability to use extenral libraries.
    • Ability to export libraries to other languages.
  • Feature Completeness
    • Turing completeness (obviously).
    • Extensive standardized libraries.
  • Extensibility
    • Easy to create domain-specific sublanguages.
    • Some mechanism for conditional compilation.
  • Scalability
    • Full OO constructs.
    • Package/Namespace system.
    • Loadable modules where they are supported.
  • Portability
    • To various OS's.
    • To various CPU's.
  • Concurrency - Able
    • Good support for threads.
    • Good synchronization primitives.
    • Good communication primitives.
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