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> Beating the Averages

> A classic article on using powerful programming languages as a secret weapon

I'm surprised this is included given that it's been more or less been proven to be false. Almost every valuable company in the past 2 decades was built on a blub language. Facebook even used PHP! Java and C++ are at the core of most Amazon and Google services. There basically haven't been any big companies build on a lisp-like language unless you consider Scala, but even the most companies adopted that later.

edit: blub




> it's been more or less been proven to be false

Not really. It's true that few big winners have used Lisp, but that would only disprove the thesis if there were also companies who tried using Lisp and failed. AFAICT, no one is even doing the experiment.

I actually know of two notable counterexamples: Barefoot Networks has an internal design tool written in Common Lisp that is a significant source of competitive advantage for them. Also Orbitz.


Keep in mind the at that Beating the Averages is from 2001 (revised in 2003). This means that it predates Java 1.4 and obviously C++11 (let alone C++14, 17, etc)

Most languages have the features of CL that made it so useful. Even Java has first class functions, lambdas, partial application, async IO, etc. Java even has a repl now. The only things left afaict are macros (non-hygenic in CLtL2) and code-as-data/eval (a security hole).

Aside from pulling from functional languages, Java also learned Python's 'with' using try-with-resources. Meanwhile the tooling of Java went from strength to strength and it's a serious blub factor for people who haven't used Java.

Beating the Averages was fairly spot on at the time it was written, but since then it's lost it's power as features of blub languages was merged into existing languages.


If not commercial Lisp, what you think about using Racket for both the IDE and so they can pre-scale by giving HtDP to good developers who want to learn Scheme?


The rule I always apply to such questions is: whatever works.


There basically haven't been any big companies build on a lisp-like language unless you consider Scala

According to Alan Kay, Smalltalk was an explicit attempt at making something as dynamic as Lisp, but where one wasn't "coding in your data representation." There was very high representation in the Fortune 500, and some very big business applications. Much of the natural gas in North America was scheduled on a Smalltalk application. JP Morgan used Smalltalk to manage very large portfolios at one point. I could go on about the applications I know about personally for hours, actually.

The line blurs, however, as Java was very much inspired/influenced by Smalltalk, as was the CLR and C#. Ruby and Python were also highly influenced by Smalltalk. Javascript was influened by Self, which was effectively the "Son of Smalltalk." Smalltalk, at one point, was also cited as being a "blub" language. (No templates, no macros, no explicit multiple inheritance...)


"Almost every valuable company in the past 2 decades was built on a bulb language."

But did they succeed because or despite those languages?

Would they have been even more successful and would their code have been more maintainable, more easily exapandable, had more power or more flexibility had they used Lisp?


What's a "bulb" language (or what did you mean to type that got autocorrected into "bulb"?)


Blub language, in the essay "Beating the Averages".


> bulb language

Had to look that up — do you mean a blub language?


Maybe OP just believes that writing PHP, Java, or C++ feels like walking on broken light bulbs. :)

I personally don't mind working with those languages, as long as I'm not working on a horribly written legacy codebase.


That was a typo sorry.




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