in reply to The Great Computer Language Shootout

I just recalculated the rankings with CPU weight 0.1, memory weight 0.01, and LOC weight 1.

Perl came out sixth. (OCaml came out first and fourth, Pike second, Haskell third (and, er, last), and Ruby fifth.)

My theory here is that a programmer with a good grasp of a given language writes lines of code at a fairly constant rate. (It's often argued that bug count is linear in lines of code, so I'm going out on a limb and assuming that speed of hacking is similar. My own experience confirms this.)

Why is programmer speed important? It's really cheap and easy to upgrade your memory; costs about two hundred bucks for a gig of good RAM, and takes maybe five minutes to install it. It's relatively cheap and easy to upgrade your processor -- maybe seven hundred dollars for a nice Athlon 64 and quality motherboard to go with it. It's really hard to upgrade your programmer. If you need raw development speed, you're better off with a language that you can program quickly in than one that takes maximal advantage of hardware that you can readily upgrade anyway.

This isn't always the case; for some applications (games, for instance) code speed is critical. However, for most business tasks -- by which I mean the kind of one-off or in-house programs that a lot of us write -- nobody's going to notice a five-second performance difference, but everyone's going to care about a five-week delivery delta.

F o x t r o t U n i f o r m
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