What Is an Agile Language?

What Is an Agile Language?


[Lone Coder]

  What’s an Agile Language?

“We are going to ascertain out one thing known as agile programming. That method no more planning and no more documentation. Just open writing code and complaining.”


— Pointy-Haired Boss, Dilbert – November 26, 2007

Python, Ruby, PHP even the feeble-school languages Snarl and Smalltalk were known as “agile” in blogs. Java no longer so powerful. (Agile Language, C2.com, C2.com;What’s Python and Why Python?, Sourceforge;
Is PHP an Agile Programming Language?, IBuildings) As anyone who has studied language fetch at a Grasp’s Diploma level, I puzzled precisely makes a pc language “agile”?

[Runnng Late - Free Clipart Island]

This grew to turn into out to be a more complicated inquire of of than I expected.

There are dozens of assorted application pattern methods.
Every formulation offers tactics for designing, constructing, documenting,
releasing and retaining application
(Checklist of Instrument Development Philosophies, Wikipedia.)

In 2001, a group of developers categorized several of these
approaches—some that had been round for a long time—below the umbrella
time interval “agile pattern”
(Agile Manifesto). Agile pattern
methods all clarify, to some stage, these priorities:

  • Other folks and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working application over comprehensive documentation
  • Buyer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to alternate over following a realizing

Afterward the time interval “agile” began appearing at some level of as an
IT buzzword. Then of us began the utilization of “agile” to train
programming languages. As an instance,
is described as an “agile
dynamic programming language” on its
residence web page.
Was as soon as this correct one more
buzzword or became there a brand contemporary revolution in programming languages? So this
month I sifted thru many Web postings shopping for what made a language agile
or no longer. What I chanced on became a mountainous fluctuate of opinions.

Theory 1: An agile language is a language that improves productivity.

To attain this belief, you may perchance perchance well maintain to respect how agile
pattern differs from other methods.

Extinct societies had different approaches to collaborating
on mountainous complications. In the book “Instrument Creativity 2.0”, Robert L. Glass
attracts an analogy of the forces at work within the stylish IT store with
Greece, Rome and the Barbarian European tribes that destroyed
classical civilization.

  1. Greeks arrange things, Romans arrange of us, Barbarians barely arrange one thing.
  2. Greek methodologies are informal, Roman ones formal, Barbarian ones nonexistent.
  3. Greeks write applications, Romans arrange projects, Barbarians soar to coding.
  4. Greeks are motivated by the problem at hand, Romans by group targets, Barbarians by heroics.
  5. Greeks lower the amount of documentation produced, Romans maximize it,
    Barbarians grab cash in on doing no documentation.
  6. Greeks work in small teams, Romans in mountainous organizations, Barbarians work solo.
  7. Greeks exhaust things as tools, Romans exhaust of us as tools, Barbarians steer determined of tools.
  8. Greeks are democratic, Romans are imperial, Barbarians are anarchists.
  9. Greeks are empirical/inductive, Romans analytical/deductive, Barbarians are unthinkingly emotional.
  10. Greeks are intuitive, Romans logical, Barbarians impulsive.
  11. Greeks are a meritocracy, Romans a “characteristic-ocracy,” Barbarians a “terror-ocracy”.
  12. Greeks emphasize substance, Romans fetch, Barbarians traces of code.
  13. Greeks produce things, Romans realizing things, Barbarians shatter things.

Both Greek and Roman civilization built mountainous projects.
Honest actual agile pattern favours the Greek method: doing is
more crucial than terrifying planning, nonetheless easy realizing enough no longer to interrupt
things. Nonetheless, most companies are indubitably Barbarian, even when they express
to follow agile practices. (Agile method no documentation – general misconeption, Agile Weblog;
What accomplish no longer you indulge in in Agile Development, Stack Overflow.)
Most of those Barbarians boast about how productive they’re: striking off all
that strategic planning, product trying out and dialog, they
focal level on keystrokes and judge they’re firm stars. “Coding without first
planning or pondering thru is a programming method most frequently known as cowboy coding.
Cowboy coders method work with the mindset of coding without estimating or
planning. And to boot they’re at a total misplaced when the results achieved by their
cowboy coding tactics does no longer meet expectations.”
(Cowboy Coder or Agile Programmer?,IT Occupation Coach). Stumble on moreover
Conway’s Law.

So Uche Ogbuji, lead developer of 4Suite, says an agile language is
“characterised by quickness, lightness, and ease of stir; nimble”
(Python is an Agile Programming Language, OReilleyNet).
A blogger at Mind Bell means that an agile language is one who promotes
the direction of qualities of simplicity, automatic unit trying out, short iterations
(Java’s Original Job Description, Mind Bell).
Some judge the language qualities has to be simplicity, dialog,
feedback and (unusually!) courage
(Python as an Agile Language).
Others are more direct: agile projects will likely be built faster, making programmers more productive.
(The Rapid Song From Code to Cloud, TechNewsWorld;
Python, an Originate-Source Scripting Language). It is all about
the charge.

Faster programming is in opposition to the conclusion of many agile
Though some advocates boast an repeat of magnitude amplify
in productivity, most judge that agile pattern has no amplify in
productivity at all. An agile method makes closing dates transient and
practical, and those closing dates are updated rapidly when a alternate occurs.
Deliveries are on-time because closing dates are more correct, no longer because the developers
are more productive.

What these of us are indubitably talking about is a Barbarian language—a
pc language that does no longer require pondering, finding out or planning nonetheless
that lets you initiate typing correct away and fetch rapid gratification
(Compare with
deferred gratification
, Wikipedia) and play the solo hero. An agile
language, if this sort of thing exists, has to be Greek.

Theory 2. An agile language is a replacement for Java.

The Java language became designed to be a minimalistic, enhanced
successor to C++. Most of the functionality became put into object classes and
the answer to place up Java extendable meant adding classes upon classes.
This overwhelming mountain of data kinds frustrated even die-laborious Java fans.
(This inform became so depraved that it lead to IDE’s with the smarts to trip the
class tree for you (Eclipse,
Wikipedia).) Thus Java is frequently known as “bureaucratic”.

With Java’s recognition in colleges and universities, it is
no longer honest that many folks with this Java-centric uncover about of the arena
are shopping for a brand contemporary programming language that is indulge in the Java they’re worn to.

Some blogs mentioned that agile languages
has to be object-oriented, reflexive and be interpreted.
(Is PHP an Agile Programming Language?, IBuildings).
Others tell that dynamically typed languages are
agile whereas others disagree (Agile Languages, Niclas Nilsson). While object-oriented
indubitably describes Java, these other phrases are methods of looking out for to contend with the
class hell inform. Being reflexive solutions the inquire of of “What class is that this?”
Dynamic typing method “I accomplish no longer care what class it is.” And the utilization of an interpreted
language method seeing the results of your class decisions faster. Sadly,
tons of these approaches maintain undesirable facet-effects, indulge in more prices when
application ought to be maintained.

These complaints have not got one thing indubitably to produce with agile
pattern. They’re a gripe checklist in opposition to certain popular
pc languages.

Theory 3. An agile language is one who makes programming stress-free.

In accordance with a presentation by Paul King at Agile2007, a language is agile
when it makes programming stress-free (Groovy: a language for Agile Development and Checking out).
About a of the opposite blogs mentioned right here moreover checklist “stress-free” as an attribute.

Right here’s one in every of the more moderen definitions of an “agile language” and I’m no longer
contented that it is a real one. A Barbarian developer would ponder that a
Barbarian language is stress-free because it would not require him to ponder or realizing: his
stress-free is programming for the sake of programming. A developer in a firm
doing complicated fetch may perchance perchance well perchance ponder honorable rise up entrance is stress-free. Or anyone who most high quality
knows Java may perchance perchance well perchance ponder that languages that peek indulge in Java are stress-free. Fun is
tormented by the kind of challenge, the pattern workspace, the persona
and background of the developers. The language is most high quality
one factor in job enjoyment.

Theory 4. An agile language offers necessary advantages to agile pattern.

Right here’s basically the most glaring definition: that an agile language
is one who’s high quality when the utilization of an agile direction of. For this to be correct,
the language must maintain foremost advantages, no longer one thing shaving a couple of hairs
off the brink. The advantages ought to be glaring, impacting and measurable.

Mr. Durarte’s blog says agile languages set aside adjustments easy (i.e. code upkeep),
partial deliveries conceivable, and pork up unit trying out. Successfully,
unit trying out tools are
accessible to work with all languages. Even bureaucratic languages can produce
partial deliveries. And so-known as heavy languages most frequently checklist easy
code upkeep as one in every of their strengths. It is no longer determined to me that any
of basically the most current languages provide any necessary income over others
in these areas.

The article about agile pattern is that it is basically about
how of us sort out on one more. The four qualities of agile that I listed at the
foundation maintain little to produce with a programming language. Have interaction the language
COBOL, let’s take into accout. This
language became designed so that applications would appear as end to readable
English as conceivable so that product house owners may perchance perchance well perchance learn what the programmers
had been doing. Right here’s consistent with the agile philosophy. But many agile
advocates would tell that COBOL is one in every of basically the most un-agile languages round.
Truth is, most product house owners maintain no interest within the realm of pc
languages—the manual and technical direction of of constructing the product.
Agile is set of us interacting with of us.

I’m laborious-pressed to take into legend any language that (the utilization of the checklist above):

  • Inhibits interaction and demands alternate direction of
  • Prevents working application whereas forcing the writing of unhelpful scientific doctors
  • Blocks collaboration with clients and couldn’t characteristic without a great contract
  • Makes alternate very no longer going and instead demands compliance with a challenge supervisor’s schedule

It may perchance perchance probably perchance well perchance be honest to search out any language that had
necessary advantages for agile pattern.


So after a month of compare into “agile languages”, I must
enact there is never one of these thing as a such thing. Barbarian coders are repeatedly looking out to
amplify their tempo to maintain the following contemporary thing. Java developers are
frustrated with their language’s bureaucracy. Students entering the crew
are upset when a programming occupation is much less stress-free than they imagined.
None of this stuff repeat to agile pattern. I’m no longer contented a
language would be built that will perchance well perchance be a necessary income to agile
pattern. Instrument pattern methods are basically fascinated about of us,
whereas programming is set crafting code. They’re indubitably two separate
inform domains. Somebody claiming a language is agile is attempting to deceive
you with hype.

October 18, 2010 

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Charlie Layers

Charlie Layers

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