Where Do Programming Languages Go to Die? – EE Journal

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If you’re a parent with small children, you’ve probably taught them to “tie” their shoes by closing the Velcro straps. Someday, when they get older, maybe they’ll also learn how to tie shoelaces. You know, like their ancestors once did. 

The question is, will they? Is learning to tie shoelaces a useful skill or just a remnant of an old and outdated technology that’s no longer relevant? 

What about telling time on a clock with hands? Digital clocks are the norm, so much so that analog clock faces (a retronym) are generally just decorations, an optional look you can download to your Apple Watch for special occasions. Is reading a clock face a useful skill or a pointless carryover? 

A friend mentioned that his son had started taking C++ programming classes in college. The son’s reaction was basically, “This isn’t programming! Python is programming. These are just primitive runes on ancient scrolls!” 

He’s got a point. Programming languages have progressed an awful lot over the years. That’s a good thing. But with each new generation of languages, we leave an old generation behind. Is that a bad thing? Are we losing something – losing touch with what a computer really is and how it works? 

Another friend made the opposite point. He’d started out learning high-level languages first, and hardware design later. He was utterly mystified that CPU chips couldn’t execute Python, HTML, Fortran, or any other language natively. How did this code get