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Would you try a language if all you had to do was install a Visual Studio extension?

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Yeah the platform side is hard. For better or worse I'm committing to just Windows for now, and hoping for traction there before messing with ports.

I agree that most languages have weak sales pitches. I'm still plotting on that front but I don't really have any brilliant inspiration yet.

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Just based on an editor plugin, no. It's a requirement these days though.

What would make me considering looking into a new language are the following.
- open-source
- great set of examples and documentation to start out
- easy ways to inerface with C code, easy ways to call and link together with c libs
- plugin for a multiplatform IDE, that has some for of auto-completion (std lib at least!)
- ways to interact with the community, reddit, blogs, IRC, stackoverflow like pages etc...

There are other things, but those are specific to my usual set of projects. (VFX where you need perf and to deal with tons of data) Or just the simple fact, that it gives me something that no other language can.

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Honestly, as I look across the field of languages that have gained traction and notoriety in recent years, most of their successes are on the backs of having a killer app -- Ruby on Rails being a prime example, R is another good one. Even when the language itself is more general in nature, its often a niche application--either for which the language itself is especially well-suited, or for which someone happened to write a killer library in this language--that imbued it with momentum. Sometimes the choice of language is not much more than accidental in this case.

 

That tells me that its hard for languages that are explicitly general purpose or at least without a clear target, and harder still if you have system-level aspirations. I'm admittedly a bit of a fan-boy, but Rust seems to be the only such language that carries any real momentum currently, and its major promise is that you can achieve safety without giving up performance to a heavy run-time sandbox. Its kind of the holy grail if it works.

 

I don't think the nice install experience is a draw, but its nevertheless important. Attention is a fickle thing, and friction is its Kryptonite. Its your language pitch that makes your acquisition funnel big, you still need to work that out, but a lack of friction is what makes it wide. The bonus creature-comforts are what make people linger.

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Yes - assuming I'm intrigued by the language to start with. Case in point, back when F# was new and before they started shipping with VS it was a plugin and I installed it just to try it out.

 

Not everybody will have Visual Studio installed though so you could consider using the Visual Studio Shell so that you have a standalone IDE if necessary but it could also integrate with an existing Visual Studio installation if there is one.

 

If Epoch is cross-platform then there's no need to lock yourself into Windows, so Eclipse might be a better technology to use. Eclipse is best known for being a Java IDE but really it's all just plugins so you can basically start with an 'empty' IDE and add languages and tools from the ground up.

 

I've noticed an increased trend in programming language websites providing an interactive coding session/REPL for demo purposes. Even Haskell are at it! And I can definitely see that if you extend that idea into an interactive tour of the language then that's going to allow people to try it out with minimal fuss, no barrier to entry at all.

 

Going along those lines a little more, you might even consider a full SaaS solution. Write your plugin for Eclipse Che and then you ask people to signup to CodeEnvy where you've got a full environment already setup and ready to use.

Edited by dmatter

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Having a VS extension with intellisense and good debugging support is definitely one of my filter criteria for trying languages out. I have an extremely long list of other filter criteria for languages, though. IDE is just one thing to consider.

As an example, since dmatter mentioned F# above: The thing about F# that was a showstopper for me was lack of forward declarations, combined with C-style 'declare before use' instead of breadth-first namespaces/types/functions/bodies compiling like C# does that doesn't care about declaration order except within bodies.



I don't mind having to install both a standalone command-line suite of tools, plus an optional .VSIX. Frequently with serious projects, the command-line tools need to be as easy to install as possible to get them deployed on our CI build machines. Ideally, no environment variables need to be set; usually just adding the PATH entry to the bin folder or having a well-known path that it gets installed to is enough.

For Windows desployment, having an installer for desktop users is MUCH nicer than having a zip file with a README.md that you hope the user has the patience for. Edited by Nypyren

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I'd honestly prefer a Visual Studio Code extension over a full VS one.

I don't install VS extensions unless I really need them. I'll happily install a VS Code extension to play around with for an afternoon, though.

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There are only a few things that make me learn a new language

 

- The languages I know are not the right tool for the job

- I want to learn a new paradigm, functional made me explore F#, ML and Haskell 

 

How easy it is to setup and start might lower the bar for people to try a new language but in reality a language will only take off if it really solves a problem. The more recent languages to take off that I can see are

 

Go - Concurrency baked in from the outset

Rust - C but with safety equipment

Swift - Its better than Objective C. Apple could have turned out any old shite here though and it would have taken off if it meant goodbye objective C lol

R - Great data shaping

Haskell - True math geek language backed by a dedicated math geek community (Still small language though)

 

But then you look at some languages that are successful and you wonder how... PHP arrrrrggghhhh lol

So your language will need a real solution to a problem nothing else really solves well or luck :)

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As an example, since dmatter mentioned F# above: The thing about F# that was a showstopper for me was lack of forward declarations, combined with C-style 'declare before use' instead of breadth-first namespaces/types/functions/bodies compiling like C# does that doesn't care about declaration order except within bodies.
 

 

I believe this is a hangup coming from C# and the code structure is wrong if you keep hitting this issue as you are thinking in object type code layout and function locations if you keep hitting this wall. I work in C# as my primary language but F# is just soo terse and clean :) I wish they had included higher kinded types given F# is based on OCAML and that has it. That is the show stopper for me. Massive limitation imho 

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