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Steve Yegge’s NBL

Most readers of this blog would have read Steve Yegge’s prediction on the Next Big Language (NBL). In his post, Steve refused to actually name the language but he dropped hints on the language (languages?) he had in mind. Commenters on his blog tried guessing the language – JavaScript2, Erlang, Scala, Perl6 etc were mentioned. If I had to guess I would have guessed JavaScript2; but I am no expert in programing languages, so my strategy is to wait and watch.

But today, I was re-reading an old blog post and I was reminded of Steve’s prediction. Jarosaw “sztywny” Rzeszótko, a young Polish blogger, had send 10 questions to 8 famous programmers and he had posted their replies (I had written about it too). Here are some excerpts from that post:

Q. What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, y language, quantum computers, what?

Steve Yegge:
I think web application programming is gradually going to become the most important client-side programming out there. I think it will mostly obsolete all other client-side toolkits: GTK, Java Swing/SWT, Qt, and of course all the platform-specific ones like Cocoa and Win32/MFC/etc.

It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s very slowly been going that direction for ten years, and it could well be another ten years before web apps “win”. The tools, languages, APIs, protocols, and browser technology will all have to improve far beyond what you can accomplish with them today. But each year they get a little closer, and I’ve finally decided to switch all my own app development over to browser-based programming from now on.

Microsoft and Apple definitely don’t want this to happen, so a necessary first step will be for an open-source browser such as Firefox to achieve a dominant market position, which will in turn require some sort of Firefox-only killer app. (A killer app would be something like iTunes, something that everyone in the world wants to use, badly enough to download Firefox for it.)

Q. If you had three months to learn one relativly new technology, which one would You choose?

Steve Yegge:
I do happen to have 3 months (part-time), and I’m spending it learning Dojo (http://dojotoolkit.org) and advanced AJAX and DHTML. I’m learning it by writing a fairly ambitious web application. Dojo’s really cool, and I’m sure it will only improve with time.

sztywny made this post on Oct 16th 2006 and Steve made his NBL post on Feb 19th 2007. From the above snippet, I think Steve had JavaScript2 on his mind as the NBL.

Categories: browser, javascript, software, tech
  1. April 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Binil,

    Do you care what Steve think is the next big language ? What are your own thoughts ?

    What about the NBL on the server side ? The serverside is NOT going to disappear ?

    javascript is gonna borrow stuff from python. Python has become THE 1st language to be taught at M.I.T. So, you’ll likely see more STAR python programmers in the next few years, especially if other colleges follow M.I.T and move away from Java.

    I’m betting that java/python and ruby are gonna occupy a big place in the server side languages.

    otherwise : Given a choice, would people program the browser, in say, ruby/python ?

    just some random thoughts!


  2. April 28, 2007 at 6:11 am


    Thanks for the comment.

    Do I care for what the NBL is? Yes, I definitely do.
    Do I care to make a prediction? Nope; as I said I don’t know enough about programing languages to make a prediction. Of course, I have my opinions but I would rather keep it to myself 🙂
    What am I doing about it? Yes, I have mentioned it here I am learning some languages which I think would be useful whatever NBL turns out to be.
    Do I care for what Steve thinks is NBL? Yes; from reading his blog I have good respect for him.

    When Steve made the original NBL post many people did try to pick up the hints and guess what he might have in mind. I don’t remember anyone connecting it to sztywny’s post then.

    BTW, I really like Python & Ruby too! 🙂

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