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Different programming languages provide the programmer different abilities.  Thus, knowing more programming languages give the programmer more ability.  I have chosen to focus on languages that I think will give me useful abilities.  I have applied for jobs at more than one company that use mostly Ruby in their programming, so I think this could be useful in the future.  R is useful in statistics, and I find myself limited by my small knowledge base in the area.  C++ provides important add-ons to C that make it a more robust and useful language.  Javascript is known for its web development abilities, an area that I want to learn more about.  And finally, PHP is a language that I had not heard of, so I decided to learn more about it and its potential uses. 

Ruby

The goal of Ruby's developer, Yukihiro Matsumoto, was to create a language with the best aspects of the languages he liked best that could be programmed in a way that is "natural" for its users.  It uses very few symbols, choosing rather to use English words to make it easier to code and read.  It was first released in 1995, but it took 11 for it to be accepted by the computer science community. One of the major benefits of Ruby is that it is an open-source language.  Users can modify the language to make it the way that they need it to be for the purpose of their project.  Matsumodo wanted the language to have a wide range of uses, much like Python, but aimed for the language to be object oriented.  Unlike C and C++, it handles garbage collection, so there is no need for the programmer to be concerned with memory storage and use.  Finally, Ruby is an interpreted language.  There are many different interpreters that allow the programmer to use different aspects of the language. 

References:

https://www.ruby-lang.org/en/about/

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/717490/is-ruby-really-an-interpreted-language-if-all-of-its-implementations-are-compile

http://www.techotopia.com/index.php/What_is_Ruby%3F

R

The goal of R's developers, Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman, was to build on the bases of S (a programming language developed in 1976 by John Chambers and rewritten in C in 1988 to make it easier to use all machines).  They wanted to make a programming language to aid in "statistical computing and graphics" by creating an interactive programming environment that takes the hard core coding out of the process.  The graphics are superior to many statistical language, and the open source component allows users to continue to make and add to packages to help their fellow programmers.  A down side to this is that developments happen based on the desire of the community, so it can a long time to make some improvements.  R is usually especially for its data storage abilities and array/matrix manipulation for easy statistical analysis, but it is also has basic loops, conditionals, and recursion abilities.  It is a compiled language.

References:

https://www.r-project.org/about.html

https://www.r-project.org/

https://www.coursera.org/learn/r-programming/lecture/pAbaE/overview-and-history-of-r

 

C++

Bjarne Stroustrup started the path to developing C++ in 1979 when he was working on his doctoral thesis.  He originally called it C with Classes because his main goal was to take the portability of C and add the functionality of classes without sacrificing the speed of C.  He changed the name to C++ in 1983 because ++ is used to increment in C++ and he thought that C++ is one step above C.  It is similar to C in the fact that the user needs to manage memory use (unlike languages like Python and Ruby that deal with memory use using garbage collection).  Parts of C++ are open source, which allows the user to make compilers and libraries to be used in their own work, but the main C libraries are not open source and can be used on almost every machine.  C++ is a compiled programming language that compiles the code directly into machine language, which makes it a fast programming language when used correctly.  

Resources - 

http://www.cplusplus.com/

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/22589213/is-c-an-open-source-project-which-community-developes-it

 

JavaScript

JavaScript was developed by Brendan Eich in only 10 days in 1995.  It was originally called Mocha, but switched to Java script when it got the rights to do so due to similarities in the language syntax and as a marketing technique since Java was a well-known language at the time.  Java is an object-oriented language that gives the programmer control over the objects in its environment - this makes it a very common language in web programming.  It is similar to Java in syntax and in looks, but it does not require data types to be declared and it cannot automatically write to a hard disc.  It is not an open source language, as it works with ECMAScript.  Some libraries are open to be modified and added, so it is possible to modify the functionality of the language. It is interpreted. 

Resources - 

https://www.w3.org/community/webed/wiki/A_Short_History_of_JavaScript

http://web.stanford.edu/class/cs98si/slides/overview.html

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Guide/Introduction

 

EXTENSION: PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)

The first version of modern PHP, known as PHP/FI was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994.  It grew from a language that he used simply for his personal use to a language that is commonly used as a "general purpose scripting language especially suited for web development".  It is useful in web development mostly because it can be embedded directly into HTML.  It uses Perl like variables and syntax that gains in simplicity but loses some functionality.  The fact that is is an open source language so developers can modify and submit their own work to be added to the language allowed it to grow into the language it is today with object oriented features and better syntax.  The programmers tried to get it to resemble C so that programmers familiar with C could use PHP as well.  PHP code is generally interpreted, but in some cases it can be compiled which can increase its performance much like Java and Javascript.

References:

http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php

http://www.php.net/

http://php.net/manual/en/history.php.php

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1514676/is-php-compiled-or-interpreted

 

 

 

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