Thoughts on programming languages

Developers put a lot of thought into the languages, tools, and frameworks they use. All this discussion and attention to detail is better spent on what you're actually making. The "best tools for the job" mentality doesn't apply as much as developers want it to: You can always use a different code editor, IDE, a different framework, etc. and get the same results. It's just a matter of translation between different environments - computers all behave the same way, with the same basic operations, regardless of what syntactic sugar the developer chooses to use.

How should you decide what language to use? It only depends on how you want users to access and use the program. If you're making something interactive on the web, there's no reason not to use JavaScript. An iOS or Android app? Use Objective-C or whatever Android uses (Java?), etc. For server-side web programming, I haven't seen major differences between Python, Ruby, or PHP. You can add more recent developments like Go or Rust to this list, as they're imperative as well. Sure, how things are put together, deployment, libraries, are all pretty different across these communities, and the choice can come down to any of these factors. But in general you can make a given piece of functionality in any environment you want to.

Sure, I'm completely ignoring a bunch of factors like scaling, performance, etc. But in all the situations I've been in as a web developer, (i.e., not working at a big company like Facebook or Google), those factors should be ignored, because they don't matter in the cases I've seen.

This rule of thumb works in my experience, which is limited to small, self-contained applications. If you're working on something with hundreds of developers on it, maybe there's something to say for using TypeScript, the fancier features of ES6, making your own virtual machine like HHVM, who knows. I can't really say. Basically, I love functional programming as much as anyone who's used Haskell, but for putting together a small, interactive UI application, there's no problem with using the standard languages that work in the same imperative paradigm as the hardware beneath all the abstractions.

That said, personally I've loved diving down rabbit holes related to programming languages, maybe not for the same reasons. For example, things like, developed by some obscure developer with an ambitious idea completely disconnected from the mainstream, these are essential parts of what makes the web interesting.