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Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development

Dave Hoover

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Tue, 03 Jun 2008

Polyglot Programming as opposed to Polyglot Programmers

I've needed to clarify something about this polyglot meme to people a few times and I thought it would be a good idea to state it publicly. There's really not much to it, but I think it's important.

There is a difference between polyglot programming and a polyglot programmer.

Ola just wrote another great layers of languages post, and I want to make it clear that he's talking about polyglot programming. I also want to make it clear that I am excited about what he's proposing, and after watching Dean's talk last month, it's also clear to me that this sort of thing is not some hot new trend, it has been going on for decades. But we should understand that polyglot programming could potentially be done by a team of single-language specialists working together to create a multi-language system.

A polyglot programmer is someone who could single-handedly create a multi-language system. A polyglot programmer is someone who might choose a single language for an entire system, and they will be more likely than a specialist to pick a language that suits the problem domain. They might program in a single language for a whole year, and then easily set aside that language and pick up a previous one. I believe that polyglot programming is best accomplished with polyglot programmers. I also believe that it's important for more of us programmers to become polyglot programmers, which is why I helped start the polyglot programmers user groups.

Like I said, there's not much to this, but I think it's an important distinction to make as the meme continues to spread.

[/polyglot] permanent link

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