I once had a conversation with a coworker who had once done some kind of forestry work in Montana. He indicated that one nice thing about living in Montana was that you were at the top of the pecking order when it comes to western states, with the exception of Alaska. Alaskans were considered more manly than Montanans, but Montanans looked down on everybody else.
What I’m looking for is the Alaska of programming languages. I’ve done projects in Java, Perl, PHP, ColdFusion, TCL, and probably some other languages I’ve forgotten, and at this point in my career, I’m looking for a language that will cement my status at the top of the programming heap. I just can’t figure out which one it is.
I could take the advice of James Robertson and program in Smalltalk. Or I could be like Paul Graham and program in Lisp. I could follow the advice of the guys at lesscode.org and give up on Java since it’s not Web-centric enough, but I’m not sure where they’d have me turn instead. PHP, Perl, and Python clearly don’t have what it takes because they’re not obscure enough. Visual Basic is utterly disqualified for obvious reasons, and C#, its fans not withstanding, is from Microsoft and too much like Java. Ruby is the flavor of the month, and its unusual type system certainly gives it credibility, but I’m not sure what kind of legs it has. It’s earning a lot of notoriety for making it really easy to write Web applications. Does that sound macho to you? To me it sounds like the original use case for ColdFusion, a language which nobody respects.
Maybe the key to really getting the respect I deserve is getting closer to the machine. There are plenty of C dead-enders out there, but I think the answer has to be assembly. At least that’s what Steve Gibson would tell you.