Why Do Scripting Languages Die?

Why Do Scripting Languages Die?

Many people think scripting languages die, because they are defective. In my opinion, they go out of fashion for being too successful.


In 2006-2007, it seemed like PERL could do nothing wrong. There was a huge spike in usage and Larry Wall (PERL’s creator) wrote “Programming is Hard, Let’s Go Scripting…” declaring PERL as the winner of the future.

The Future

Well, so what’s the future of scripting?

In my completely unbiased opinion, that would be Perl 6. :-)

Seriously though, it’s always safe to predict that the ecological landscape will end up with many small languages and a few dominant ones. Some languages like AppleScript have particular ecological niches and are unlikely to grow out of them. Other languages get used outside their original niche. There will always be the generalists, like crows and mockingbirds, and the specialists, like penguins and dodos. (Well, maybe not always the dodos…)

Among the generalists, the conventional wisdom is that the worse-is-better approach is more adaptive. Personally, I get a little tired of the argument: My worse-is-better is better than your worse-is-better because I’m better at being worser! Is it really true that the worse-is-better approach always wins? With Perl 6 we’re trying to sneak one better-is-better cycle in there and hope to come out ahead before reverting to the tried and true worse-is-better approach. Whether that works, only time will tell.

Fast Forward by seven years and you find -

Fast Company - The fall of PERL, The web’s most promising language.

Dr. Dobbs - The Rise And Fall of Languages in 2013

Why did PERL go out of fashion? In the early years of the internet, web was seen as a system administrator’s challenge and programs like CGI scripts came as secondary. The system-related was handled by PERL well, and that success moved the web out of system administrators’ hands. Programmers came in, and they had no love for a language born out of AWK scripts and other system administrator tools.


Which language will be hot seven years from now? Python is going strong now (above chart), but readers may also find - “Why are Cool Kids at Github Moving to GO Language?” informative. Apart from GO, Javascript is another rising star, thanks to node.js server born out of front-end (UI) programmers’ desire of doing everything with Javascript.

Written by M. //