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Even if there is a scaling limit, you can still use SmallTalk or a Lisp for small projects (and the scope of small projects in those languages is larger than that of, say, small Java projects) and benefit. I imagine plenty of unglamorous software projects are small enough in scope.

I am a mathematician, not a programmer, but even I have a Lisp story like this. I'm working with a computer science professor at my university who has in the past worked as a programmer both for private companies and for our government. We're studying some combinatorial game played on graphs and wanted experimental data of which player has a winning strategy on thousands of small graphs.

To feel more certain of the computer results we decided to each write our own implementation independently without looking at each other's code. He wrote his in C and I wrote mine in Common Lisp. You can imagine the punchline since it is similar to all of the Lisp stories out there: my program is about a tenth of the number of lines of code, took much less time to write and runs about twice as fast!




How would you know the projects stay small? Also, if you have to work on small and large projects, and one tool works for both, getting proficient in both tools might just not add enough benefit...


I certainly have no idea how to predict if a programming project will stay small, but maybe people who do that kind of thing for a living have some idea?

Also, I'm skeptical about this scaling limit business, but if it's true, call the first program a prototype or proof of concept and then rewrite in a "scalable" language when necessary. "Plan to throw one away, you will anyway."


Any large project can be broken down into a set of small projects.




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