Why are there so many programming languages?

If you are interested in programming or have been programming for a while, you might have wondered that isn’t a language like Python or JavaScript enough for doing everything? Why do we need so languages? Why a language like C or C++ is still being used?

In this article, we will address those questions. We will start by giving a brief history of widely used programming languages.

So, C was created more than 40 years ago by Dennis Ritchie. It was a general-purpose programming language that became widely used because of its power and performance.

But it lacked features for organizing a program. Maintaining large programs with the existing options in C was not enough. So, C++ was created which had features like classes to help organize a large project.

But C and C++ were still hard to learn for people. No doubt, they give the best performance but it was not easy to learn them.

Java came sometime after and became widely used in the industry and academia because it was comparatively easier to learn and was developer-friendly making it quicker to write applications.

But making web applications with Java was a challenge. Ruby was another programming language that came around the same time as Java. And in 2004, Ruby on Rails got released. It was a framework to build web applications. A web application that would take a couple of days to be built in Java could be built with Ruby on Rails in a matter of hours. This particular framework made it much easier to write web apps.

Python was also made in the same decade as Java by Guido Van Rossum. It started as his hobby project. And because of python’s simplicity, computers becoming more powerful, and the Internet becoming widely available, Python saw a huge adoption from hobbyists and developers gradually after its release.

JavaScript also came in the same decade and was designed to make interactive web pages.

So, that was a brief history of the most programming languages that are widely used now. You can see that each programming language was made for a specific purpose. Any programming language can do anything but sometimes a particular task is drastically simpler to do in a different one. Each language has its pros and cons.

To solve a particular problem which programming language should be used is dictated by multiple factors like the availability of libraries, community support, performance, and developers’ familiarity and experience with it.

Let’s make things more clear by giving some concrete examples.

Suppose a team wants to make a large video game like GTA or Counter-Strike. Python would not be the best choice for doing so because even though modern computers are much powerful than before, large games demand good performance which a compiled language like C++ will be able to deliver.

To write new web applications, developers are now not using PHP much because there are now plenty of better options that are more performant and easier to work with.

A person who wants to learn to code for fun would be daunted by a language like C or Java. He/she would be more comfortable and motivated when learning a friendly language like Python or JavaScript.

So, that’s it. Let us know which language you prefer the most.

If you are interested in programming for free then checkout our 100% free courses on a variety of languages.

Programming with Python course
JavaScript for Beginners course
Go for Beginners course

KourseKat Fuel your curiosity!