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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages? 247

First time accepted submitter liquiddark writes "I was listening to a younger coworker talk to someone the other day about legacy technologies, and he mentioned .NET as a specific example. It got me thinking — what technologies are passing from the upstart and/or mainstream phases into the world of legacy technology? What tech are you working with now that you hope to retire in the next few years? What will you replace it with?"
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

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  • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @05:19PM (#46436121)

    I've been playing with computers since the mid-70's and one of the things that I did early on was learn to program in C.

    One of the smartest things I've ever done; it's up there with my decision to start running Linux in the late 90's.

    If you can program in C you can write a program that runs on pretty much everything that you'll come across that you might want to program.

    Learn C if you want to learn a programming language that you can use for a very long time.

    I like Android, got an Android phone and a couple of tablets, but the C NDK doesn't allow you to do things without having to jump through a bunch of Java hoops to get there. I would have more Android devices if it was easier to write a program on it in C.


    (Hip hip array!)

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @05:21PM (#46436131) Homepage Journal

    Apparently the writer of the original article thinks "legacy" means that you have to maintain and enhance existing applications instead of developing new ones.

    To me, "legacy" means that there are no new applications being developed in that language, and the only jobs available for it are maintaining and enhancing existing applications. .Net and Java are certainly not "legacy" in that sense by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Important question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @05:24PM (#46436149)

    I'm mid-career, and this question feels very relevant to me. For the past 15 years or so, I've focused on cross-platform (mostly Linux) C++ programming, with a decent SQL understanding as well.

    But lately, the market for straight-up C++ Linux jobs seems to be waning. For one thing, more dynamic / introspective languages such as Java, Python, Javascript, and C# seem far more prevalent than my loved/hated C++.

    But a bigger trend seems to be a shift to frameworks, rather than languages + OS's, as the focus of job-posting requirements. It's no longer true that C++/Java + Linux + SQL experience lets me quickly find a well-paying job in the city of my choice. For that, one also (or instead?) needs competence in something like Hadoop, Cassandra, Ruby on Rails, Amazon Web Services, Django, etc.

    This makes sense, as CPU's get faster, and as software development continues shifting to a more connected, more web-oriented world. But it's a little scary for someone like me, whose day job doesn't offer much opportunity to work with those newer frameworks in order to develop a marketable level of skill.

    I'm guessing this is a periodic problem. Ace mainframe programmers found themselves less marketable when desktop development became popular. Desktop developers were partially outmoded by client/server, and have a more serious marketability problem now that most development is aimed at (ultimately) web browsers. It's not that serious C++/Linux/back-end geeks like me can't find work, it's just that I(we) feel a little trapped compared to those whose skills are currently in broader demand.

    I guess the question, then, is do I(we) double-down on our current expertise and become indispensable in a small fraction of the job market, or do we accept the pros and cons of partially re-inventing our careers (and setting back our salaries) to retool?

  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @08:02PM (#46436951) Homepage

    It's not of course, but a man can dream can't he? .net isn't dying by any stretch of the imagination. But let's start with languages most people would agree ARE legacy languages:

    COBOL (if you can't agree on this, end of conversation)
    various assembly languages (maaaaybe the 68000 family?)
    FORTRAN (starting to get controversial here since I know it's still used by some crazy science people who don't want to learn anything modern)

    I was about to add Pascal... but then noticed some crazy person is still developing Pascal in the form of freaking Delphi, and even has a port for Android phone. WTF?

    So that makes me think... if I can't include Pascal, or possibly even FORTRAN, languages I've never known someone to write code for in the past 15 years, but yet there's still new releases of it in legacy languages... then what can I include? I'm sure some nutter will try to argue with me that Forth is still a viable language. COBOL.... just go away.

    The better question is more likely, which languages should you really not put your career prospects on? Personally I'd list any of the above languages, but sadly not yet PHP.

  • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @10:20PM (#46437415)

    On what mobile platforms (emphasis on the plural) would Objective-C be suitable?

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell