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Software Developer has an article, Ghosts in the Machine: 12 Coding Languages that Never Took Off that spotlights twelve of many thousands of languages that never made it big. Some had potential, others were doomed to begin with.

ColdFusion makes the list. So do Haskell, Delphi, and PowerBuilder.

I don't know that I disagree with the assessment based on the thought that "the vast majority of us all use the same dozen or so."

What do you think of the list? I was surprised to see those four languages included with some of the others, but at the same time you still have to ask, have they made it? And if they did make it, are they still there?

(via Venkat)

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Oh no! Let the outrage begin!

Posted by Jason Holden on Jul 13, 2007 at 10:45 AM UTC - 6 hrs

This is a blatant attempt to try and piggyback on the outrage caused by the computer world article claiming the same thing about CF a couple of months ago.

i'm sure they probably saw the traffic and exposure it must have generated and thought "hey we want some of that".

Posted by Ciqala Burt on Jul 13, 2007 at 10:57 AM UTC - 6 hrs

Jason- I know!

Ciqala - You know, that's a good idea. I generally give them the benefit of the doubt, but it could see that as feasible.

Of course, they are far from saying CF is dead - I took it as saying it wasn't a mainstream language. I don't know that I'd call it a mainstream language either, but I certainly love to use it!

Posted by Sam on Jul 13, 2007 at 12:08 PM UTC - 6 hrs

The problem I have with the "mainstream" idea is that they don't even say that until the conclusion. The introduction and stated purpose of the article is to discuss why these languages:

"never took off, and the reasons they didn't."

I think this is not accurate. ColdFusion is taking off. It has been taking off for a long time. The government loves it. The Fortune 100 companies love it. And now, Adobe loves it.

I do agree with their statement that if there are drawbacks to CF it's that they are not language related... people do not get the word out as much as possible; this is something that was even brought up to Adobe at CFUNITED.

Posted by Ben Nadel on Jul 13, 2007 at 12:40 PM UTC - 6 hrs

Ben - you make a good point. It is easy to overlook all of the behind-the-scenes intranet applications using CF, and the developers who wrote them - almost by definition since you never see them!

Posted by Sam on Jul 13, 2007 at 02:05 PM UTC - 6 hrs

Heh, well I'm a ColdFusion developer and my partner is a Delphi programmer and between us we're doing quite nicely out of it. I don't think whether a language has "taken off" by an arbitrary set of factors really matters, in the overall scheme of things. Is it filling a market requirement? Are people using it? Is there demand for people with skills in it? Is there a future for the product?
For both ColdFusion and Delphi the answer is yes... so we're happy to keep developing in our languages of choice.

Posted by Kay Smoljak on Jul 14, 2007 at 01:23 AM UTC - 6 hrs

Kay - certainly! My company (and plenty of others!) does quite well with CF. Plenty of programmers make a good living in it!

I don't think it matters much either, except to say in some cases, "look at the potential we have/had" and "could we capitalize better on it?"

I didn't take away that the article was trying denigrate the languages, but to introduce some languages that you might not be aware of (even some quite useless ones) and also to give some opinions on a couple of more well-known ones that the author felt had fallen out of favor.

I wonder why Smalltalk was not on there? I certainly expected it to be!

Posted by Sam on Jul 14, 2007 at 07:42 AM UTC - 6 hrs

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