0x88 Lines

In another forum, I was asked in passing, "… I wonder, is there truly a language that does not suck?"

Having programmed in around thirty programming languages of one sort or another, my short answer would have to be, "No, they all suck equally, except for Java which sucks slightly more." But instead, I decided to answer in filk.

(These are the languages I know or plan shortly to learn, in approximately the order I learned them.)

[September 2006]

BASIC was a clumsy plaything,
Good for kids and not much more;
Fortran was a revelation
Back in 1954;
Forth was built for one curmudgeon,
Never should have been released;
Pascal taught that chains and bondage
Are required to tame the beast;

PET machine code seemed nostalgic
Even when it first came out;
COBOL was for dull accountants,
Not for humans, have no doubt;
C was PDP assembler,
Yet was used for every task;
Prolog answered all the questions
That you don’t know how to ask;

MS-DOS was good for scripting
Only if your dreams are small;
Six-Eight-Thousand was symmetric,
Animate a bouncing ball;
Parlog taught new ways of thinking,
Shame it only worked in school;
Ada — Ronald Reagan’s baby —
Like him: ugly, bloated tool;

Logo had some clever features
Hid behind its turtle face;
80×86 Assembler,
Ugly muscle won the race;
Dear old Billy’s Visual Basic
Gave crap shareware to the masses;
C++ was bloat on steroids,
Kneed our groins and kicked our asses;

Delphi found the perfect balance,
Shame about the market share;
CSS is website ethics
In a world that doesn’t care;
Lexx and Yacc are good for making
Yet more entries in this list;
JavaScript’s the tool of choice for
Little boys who’ve ne’er been kissed;

Perl’s the great Swiss Army Chainsaw
(Cat’s walked on the bloody keys!);
Lua’s built to Keep It Simple,
Found the sweet spot, aims to please;
SQL is Bertrand Russell
Reinvented by the blind;
XSL was never meant to
Be approached by human mind;

PHP was Perl for those who
Wished that Larry’d not been born;
HTML filled the web with
What the people wanted: porn;
Intercal’s an evil joke (on
Purpose, which is something odd);
BrainF*** demonstrates the fact that
Turing knew the mind of God;

Scheme was far too clean and simple
To be used by mortal men;
Unix shell-script still has uses
Here and there and now and then;
LISP may hope to reach its heyday
In another fifty years;
Billy forced C# upon us
‘Cause of looming Java fears;

Python turned its whitespace gimmick
Into some religious dream;
Smalltalk drove a single concept
To its ultimate extreme;
Haskell’s quite a clever concept
If you’ve got a PhD;
Ruby’s slow but – maybe, one day –
It could be the one for me.