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Programming languages to avoid

(Image credit: Image Credit: Startup Stock Photos / Pixabay)

Regardless of whether you are just starting out or a seasoned development veteran, you need to know the technologies that are in demand and the ones that are outdated. While a lot has already been written about popular programming languages, we would like to tell you about the ones that are already extinct or are on the verge. Here are the seven programming languages you should try to avoid in your next project.

1. Visual basic

Visual basic is a classic programming language, but it is getting replaced by more modern ones such as .NET and C#. This sentiment is validated when we look at the latest rankings of favourite programming languages by StackOverflow. According to this survey, Visual Basic is the most hated programming language. In addition, we can see why people are starting to shift over to .NET. It provides a robust high-level frameworks which makes it accessible to for Java, C# and other developers. If you are a programmer who is just starting out, you can try playing around with visual basic, but you should use it as a stepping stone for more advanced frameworks like .NET.

2. Objective-C

Objective C is not completely dead, but it is being replaced by the more popular Swift. It will continue to be around simply because iOS and macOS still use it, but modern iOS development is being done with Swift. Until Apple decides to complete redesigned its operating systems, there will still see some demand, but it is a good idea to start learning Swift if you are looking to get into iOS development.

3. Perl

Perl was once on top of the world. However, as time went on, developer started perceiving it as a write-only language which started its decline. In order to stabilise Perl, its creators released a newer version called Perl6 which fixed the issues to a certain extent, but it was not enough to stop the downslide. Nowadays, developers prefer to use Python over Perl even though the latter is better in terms of substitution and matching. However, Python is s just one of the most popular programming languages today and developers prefer it over Perl.

4. Cobol

Cobol is present in legacy applications which are too costly to transfer to the cloud. For this reason, people with Cobol knowledge will be extremely valuable. To give you an idea of how much Cobol is being used today, Reuters estimates that 95 per cent of ATM swipes use Cobol code. If you are looking to transition to something more modern, like Java, it could be very costly. To give an example of just how costly it can be, Commonwealth Bank Australia replaced its Cobol platform to the tune of $749.9 million. Most banking software still use Cobol but is becoming hard to find people with Cobol expertise. It is no longer being taught at schools so this knowledge could be difficult to come by.

5. CoffeeScript

All of the languages we have on the list have an extensive history to them. Not CoffeeScript. It is only about 10 years old, but already there was no use for it. It was designed to address a flaw in Java, but as time when on Java updated its own framework making CoffeeScript obsolete.

6. Scala

Scala was also very popular at one pointy, but it is just so difficult to learn. Large companies, such as Twitter and yammer have opted to switch to something more simpler such as Kotlin. The reason is that they take on new team members all the time and they need to be able to hit the ground running. The learning curve is just too much for people who have never used which creates a business problem. Since people are starting to switch away from Scala, it would not be a good programming language to learn.

7. Lisp

Lisp has an extensive history dating back to 1958. Only Frortran is older, but only by one year. However, if you are in the AI field it would be a better idea to learn Python. The reason is that most of the popular deep learning frameworks, such as TensorFlow, are built with Python.

Start using modern methods

Even if you are using legacy systems, it is a good idea to start switching to something more flexible. The reason is that the costs of maintenance will increase as time goes on and more people will start using your product. By switching to the cloud, you can reduce your overhead costs by as much as 40 per cent and it will give you the flexibility to scale up and down. Given the need for business agility eventually you will have to rehost or refactor your application.

If you are creating something from scratch, it is important that you create it with modern tools and methodology in order to take make it easier for people to learn and make adjustments. This is especially important in the age of smartphones and tablets. Your apps need to perform their absolute best in order for your customers to continue using it. This means that if you are creating an app for iOS it would be better to use Swift instead of a language out of the C family and if you are creating an Android app it would be better to use Kotlin.

If you have legacy software that uses any of the programming languages mentioned above, it would be a good idea to start migrating everything. While this will be expensive in the beginning the cost of maintaining the legacy infrastructure will continue to grow as time goes on. You will encounter all kinds of scalability and service issues and you will have to find a way to incorporate it into your digital strategy, which could be challenging. 

Ilya Dudkin, Marketing Team Lead, Softwarium (opens in new tab)

Ilya Dudkin is the Marketing Team Lead at Softwarium. He is a software enthusiast and loves to learn new programming languages and techniques.