3 mins read

Why Do Some Programming Languages Die?

3 mins read

With a total of 700 diverse programming languages known to the world to date, it puts no doubt to say that the IT world won’t stop writing software and will not settle in less while seeking to improve and leverage the paradigms of coding languages for making disruptive revolutions in the digital world.

Google’s recent invention of Dart and Go prove the above statement where it seeks to improve the way software systems are built and to overpower the use of a few most widely used languages. Efforts towards advancements and transformations won’t halt, which will naturally lead some programming languages to rise while others become obsolete in a way.

Presently, all tech geeks and aspirants are well familiar with the success stories of top programming languages namely Java, C, Python, JavaScript, C++, etc. And certainly, there are reasons why these languages (along with others) have hit the big time and others weren’t able to make up.

Let’s dig out the major causes for the same.

Top Reasons Why Some Programming Languages Live and Others Die

While programming languages tend to change their ratings and position among the top most used coding languages for software development, their veritable dynasty also witnessed some leading the reign and some falling into obscurity.

This is because sometimes widely used languages are continuously updated to widespread their use. Scientists become determined to produce a language that stands out but many times neglect its need to make it useful and investment-worthy.

In other cases, language developers keep on adding new features to make it more intuitive and functional, without considering the overload they put on tech engineers who use it.

Some other factors involve:


By this, we mean that sometimes even if a language is quality-driven, it still has to struggle with its existence because the community that uses it decides its fate. Say if the community of a language, though it’s small but strong on the other side, will take it long in the race for decades.

One good example is that of the ‘R’ language. It’s a fine-tuned language for math, verbose, and isn’t easy to learn but at points prove inefficient in its purpose when compared to, say, MatLab.

The robust community of R, which are mostly developers from the academic fields of math, biology, psychology, has built a myriad of robust libraries for programmers to use, even though they are far from perfect, but are actively used. Another buzz language is PHP, although it’s the quirkiest one, yet has a massive use and implementation.

“More than 79% of the websites make use of PHP, making it the Internet’s spine.”

The gigantic use of PHP’s repository proves its community strength even though some among many find it cumbersome to use.

#Stick to the Niche

This relates to the survival of languages that glue themselves into a specific niche or ecosystem and hardly make many contributions outside of it.

Languages supported by Apple, Objective-C, and Swift, tend to continue as they are actively used in their composed environment of development, seeing periodic modifications and iterations.

Clojure forms another proof of example that has immense favorability among senior developers. It is a functional programming language that makes use of Java.

#Offer Uniqueness and Benefits Like No Other

Some thrive in the competitive rat race; they solve issues like no other, despite having fewer features, less popularity, and low performance. They are preferred over the others as they accomplish tasks that other languages fail to do and thus, mark their existence alongside the widely used.
One proven example of this category would be LUA which is a relatively slow scripting language that lacks functionality and features; however, serves the purpose of nimbly writing scripts like no other in comparison with its alike counterparts.

One can say that for a language to make its space in this highly fierce and dynamic IT world, it’s good not to be all ‘purpose-driven’ but to do a single task well, fulfilling that one major motive.

Do Coding Languages Truly Die?

It may be a long time since its heyday, new languages may appear that fill a niche. But some languages are still there, decades after they were believed to be obsolete.

Programming languages go out of style which doesn’t imply that they die unless there are people who carry expertise in using them and accommodate computer systems that can run them.

There are programmers who decide to specialize in these older languages because they can benefit from knowing less popular languages. Although there is less demand, some options may be reduced, knowing these minority niches could end up giving good results.

If there is a language that perfectly fulfills the supply and demand and plays a significant role in the past; however, is still necessary today, it is Cobol. Though it may take a backseat as per today’s standards of software development, it forms the backbone of a vital legacy system worldwide.