Last year I was taught “Object Orientated Design and Programming” as part of my Birkbeck MSc, using Groovy, a dynamic functional language built on top of Java and running on the Java VM.
I enjoyed it and liked Groovy – I went on to write some pieces of software for my MSc project using it.
But it also gave the impression of being a dying language and there were some complaints from fellow students who thought C# or Java itself would have been a better bet for them jobs wise (to which one of the lecturers responded with admirable chutzpah with a suggestion of using Lisp in the future).
This last week I have again been dabbling in Groovy and I get a sense that the language is suddenly back in fashion and its community of users seems more energy charged than a year ago.
Nothing scientific to back that feeling up with, just my judgement.
McCarthy was the designer of LISP which, with FORTRAN, holds the record of the oldest living high level computer language. LISP is the grandparent of today’s functional computer languages and still has many fanatical supporters in its own right.
Like Ritchie, though, it would be wrong to single out McCarthy for only one achievement: because it neglects the rest, such as his pioneering work on artificial intelligence (his own term) and his formulation of the concept we now know as cloud computing.