Well? What is it?
Please note, the sensible answer of ‘There is no best, it depends on what you want to do’, is banned on pain of, well, pain. Don’t make me hunt you down and kill you. This is a purely subjective poll (except without the poll functionality, as I don’t want to restrict peeps and there are thousands of languages out there). So, those of you who have used more than one programming language, which is the one you like best. Please also state what you like about it, which other languages you have used and why it’s better, for your brain/needs, than them. Also its shortcomings if you like. And are you a professional programmer, or just someone who uses programming occasionally in your work, or a hobbyist?
Me, I’m a hobbyist, but will be programming at work when I get a job! Only as a bioinformatician, not a software developer. I’ve used C, various Basics and Perl quite a lot, and used R, Fortran, Java, C++ and J a little. If you count SQL as a programming language, that too. It’s a toughie but on balance I think I like Perl the best. I’ve found myself to be most productive in it, in terms of time between deciding what I want to do, and having a working program for it.
I like that you don’t have to be quite so finicky with data types as in say C or Java. I like that you don’t necessarily have to tack loads of garbage around the meat of the program (e.g. hello world is just ‘print "hello world
";’ without having to declare a main function or include libraries… Java, C, C++, I’m looking at you). I rather like hashes, regular expressions, and the ease in manipulating strings (C, you’re an arsehole). I like how much you can do in it without thinking in object-oriented terms (Java, jump off a cliff) - not a fan of o.o.p though I understand it’s probably extremely useful when writing huuuuge programs, much bigger and more important than the kind I hack out.
Having used R and J, I miss the transparent array manipulation when in Perl. And I would like the option of compiling the code into a standalone executable.
So, for me, Perl wins.