The number one indication that a programming language is dead is that
there's somebody trying to "keep it alive" by making changes that utterly
change the character of the language.

The number two indication is that, assuming it HAS some strength that sets
it apart from other languages, everybody's teaching how to use it to do
things every other programming language can do, rather than teaching how
to use it to do things NO other programming language can do. I.e., they're
teaching to its weaknesses, rather than to its strengths.

I see both happening to RPG constantly, to a far greater extent than I've
seen in any other language. All this free-format crap is a perfect example
of the former, and the fact that many newly-minted RPG programmers not
only have never written a "Cycle" program (conventional or UNconventional)
in their lives, but were never even taught what "The Cycle" *IS*, or what
it's good for (both conventionally and UNconventionally; indeed, while I
use The Cycle whenever convenient, I almost always do so in unconventional
ways, and only use those Cycle features that bear on the problem at hand).

Twenty years ago, COBOL had a well-deserved reputation as a language that
the mainstream had passed by. A language whose practitioners came to work
in white short-sleeved dress shirts, dark, painfully-narrow ties, and
horn-rimmed glasses. RPG's reputation went so far beyond even that, in
terms of the "out-of-step" factor, that the popular image of an RPG
programmer made COBOL programmers look like propeller-headed whiz kids.

Different programming languages have their own strengths and weaknesses.
When we learn as many languages as possible, and LEARN THEIR STRENGTHS AND
WEAKNESSES, rather than just their common features, then we end up better
able to USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB.
--
JHHL



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