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What Programming Languages will be the Future of Blogging?

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The Internet is one of the fastest-changing technologies in the world, along with the languages that create it. The blogging world must anticipate these changes, to better adapt.

The Internet may well be one of the fastest-growing technologies in the history of humankind. The degree to which it’s changed even in the past five years is positively staggering, let alone how much it’s evolved since its inception back in the 1980s.

The Internet of today is a vastly different beast from that of yesterday, and it stands to reason that tomorrow’s web will look equally foreign to the users of today.

One of the driving forces behind the current state of the web is the prevalence of mobile devices, which forced many developers to incorporate responsive web design to cater to the growing volume of mobile users, while others simply created separate websites for mobile devices.

In both cases, modern programming languages were forced to evolve in order to incorporate new features, components, and devices. This evolution is very likely going to continue as mobile technology grows more complex and the demand for fluid, accessible web design grows more pressing.

Mobile technology was also primarily responsible for the slow death of Flash, formerly the de-facto programming language for rich media on the web. Although the language still exists, it’s starting to fall out of favor.

In a few years, it could well be replaced entirely by HTML5 and JavaScript. As far as the frontend is concerned, these two languages are likely to be a fixture of web development for some years to come.

This is thanks as much to the languages themselves as the tools that they come equipped with – utilities for JavaScript including Node.js, jQuery, MongoDB and JSON catapult the language ahead of other, more eloquent solutions such as Python or Ruby.

That said, while HTML5 and JavaScript may currently be the reigning titans of web development, we can’t discount the possibility of a newcomer blowing both languages away further down the line, merging the features of both into a single, one-size-fits-all solution. While that concept might seem somewhat absurd, it’s actually nearer to reality than you might think.

In the wider programming world, we’ve already seen the development of Julia, a technical computing language originally released in 2012. According to Jonah Bloch-Johnson, the language is remarkably robust – even though it might not be ideal for building desktop apps or operating systems.

What’s more, he continues, it’s equipped with better code libraries than several seasoned languages like Python. As such, it may only be a matter of time before we see the birth of similar ‘jack-of-all-trades’ languages on the development side.

But What Does All This Have to Do with Blogging?

To answer that, we need simply look at WordPress. Currently the most popular blogging platform in the world, WordPress makes use of a few additional languages outside of HTML and JavaScript: CSS, which determines style and layout; and PHP, which forms the backbone of the platform.

While CSS will likely remain relatively unchanged, we might very soon be seeing an overhaul of WordPress’s PHP. This change could come from a very unlikely source – Facebook, which recently unveiled a completely new programming language developed by a small group of Facebook engineers.

The language – a PHP replacement is known as “Hack” – already drives most of the backend for Facebook’s website. This means that Hack already successfully serves more than 1.2 billion users worldwide.

Hack makes use of a technique known as gradual typing, a combination of dynamic and static programming developed by Indiana University Bloomington’s Jeremy Siek.

By doing so, it’s able to provide the agility of a dynamically-typed arrangement coupled with the precision of a statically-typed solution; everything is further able to run without compiling. Integrating such a language into WordPress could completely change the face of the platform.

We could see a whole host of improvements: better plugins, greater speed and functionality, a more intuitive interface…basically, it could be the best thing that’s happened to WordPress in a while. That is, of course, assuming we actually see such integration happen. There’s no guarantee it will, after all.

The Internet changes more and more with each passing day. The web of today – along with the languages that create it – is markedly different from what it was several years ago and is likely to change much more in the years to come.

Part of that transformation may well involve the birth of a new programming language or, at the very least, the evolution of an old one into something wholly unique, impacting will impact everyone from webmasters to programmers, right down to writers like us.

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