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<Why do we compare Programming Languages? ⁄ >

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I don't know. May be just for academic reasons, because there is no relevance in practical life. I recently read some discussion about the performance of Ruby at Joel on Software. Wondering what the heck if Ruby is slower than C++? There are 10s of programming languages which are slower than C/C++, yet they are being used widely in many different applications. You don't have to be the fastest and win 100m at the Olympics to live your life. You have a different set of ambitions and purpose. Don't you?

I never thought all programming languages are created equal. Though, a given problem can be solved by many programming languages, I believe, not all are cut out to solve the same problem. New programming languagues have been created primarily because existing programming languages do not solve a particular problem well. For most, the reason is not pure computational performance. This is equally true for most technologies as well.

Even when two programming languages/technologies solve the same problem reasonably and equally well, decision to prefer one over the other is never purely technical and never based on a single indicator like computational performance. Few examples over a period of time, from my area of work and experience:

1. C++ vs Perl and Shell Scripting
2. Binary Encoding vs ASCII encoding : XML, HTML, SIP over binary encoded Protocols
3. VOIP vs Traditional Telephony
4. Telecom Application Servers - J2EE Web Servers with IMS vs Custom Designed Telecom Servers
5. C++ vs Erlang for Telecom switching software
6. C++ CGI Programming vs J2EE based Application Servers, PHP, Ruby on Rails
7. .NET vs J2EE
8. Flash based Video Player and distribution vs WMP, Real and Quick Time

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