June 13, 2024

Exploring Programming Languages and Paradigms

Signetic Tech Talk Tuesdays Session 5 : Exploring Programming Languages and Paradigms

Sawan Vaidya, our seasoned Solutions Architect hosted Signetic’s fifth and final Tech Talk Tuesdays session on June 11, 2024. He shared his extensive experience in the broad spectrum of programming languages and paradigms and the evolution of his programming style. In his presentation, Sawan offered a nuanced understanding of the current state of software development.

The Evolution of a Programmer

Sawan detailed his journey as a programmer since 2011, navigating through various programming languages, including over a decade with JavaScript and data engineering, seven years with Python, and significant stints with Java, Groovy, and PHP.

His journey began with a strong focus on Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), which he used extensively, even in languages like PHP and Python that aren't strictly designed for it. Over time, he incorporated procedural and functional programming alongside OOP, adapting his approach to fit different projects.

Understanding Programming Paradigms

Various programming paradigms serve distinct purposes:

  • Imperative: The foundational style for most languages, focused on explicit commands.
  • Declarative: Exemplified by SQL, where the focus is on what needs to be done rather than how.
  • OOP, Functional, Procedural: Well-known paradigms that many developers are familiar with.
  • Logical: Used in languages like Prolog to define relationships.
  • Event-Driven: Prominent in JavaScript for handling asynchronous events.
  • Concurrent: Illustrated by Go with its built-in concurrency features.
  • Aspect-Oriented: Deals with cross-cutting concerns.
  • Scripting: Used for automation tasks.

Top Programming Languages

By analyzing Google searches and GitHub pushes, Sawan identified Python, Java, JavaScript, C++, and C# as the top programming languages used. These languages predominantly support OOP, although Go and C are procedural. Notably, JavaScript and Python can be used without strict adherence to OOP, showcasing their flexibility.

Image: Top Programming Languages in Google Search
Image: Top Programming Languages in Github Pushes

The Multiparadigm Evolution

Programming languages have evolved to support multiple paradigms, allowing developers to choose the styles most suitable for their tasks. Sawan emphasized how OOP models real-world entities, citing inheritance and polymorphism as its core tenets. However, he also noted growing criticisms of OOP, such as overengineering and the "banana problem," where solutions are overcomplicated with too many abstractions.

Is Functional Programming a Viable Alternative?

Functional programming has its advantages, like immutability and pure functions, which make code easier to test and predict. However, it also has downsides, such as complex syntax and challenges with recursion. Functional programming often needs to mix with imperative code, especially for tasks like database operations and input/output.

The Simplicity of Procedural Programming

Sawan advocated for the simplicity and naturalness of procedural programming, which avoids excessive abstractions, making it easy to learn and debug. He suggested that languages like Python and JavaScript, despite their OOP and functional capabilities, often revert to a procedural style for straightforward tasks.

What he personally prefers is a balanced approach that blends procedural, OOP, and functional paradigms. He uses OOP for defining data models and prefers composition over inheritance. Functional programming principles, like pure functions and careful handling of data changes, are also important. He stressed the importance of documentation and discussion before creating new abstractions to avoid unnecessary complexity.

Embracing Modular Programming

Modular programming is a key part of Sawan’s approach. It involves creating small, independent units of code that are easy to test and manage. In his work at Signetic, he successfully implemented a monorepo strategy, which means consolidating many smaller repositories into one. This approach, using tools like npm workspace and Turbo, makes managing code easier.

However, he also acknowledged the challenges of managing dependencies and the learning curve associated with modular systems.

In a Nutshell

Sawan's presentation encapsulates his extensive experience and evolving perspective on programming paradigms. By blending procedural, OOP, and functional styles, and focusing on modularity, he offers a practical and flexible way to approach software development. His insights serve as valuable guidance for developers navigating the ever-evolving landscape of programming languages and paradigms.

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