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Heron-Centric: Ruminations of a Language Designer
Heron Needs a Killer App
by Christopher Diggins
August 19, 2005
Heron is going to need a killer-app if it has any hope of surviving. I may have found one ... teaching programming.


Many of the most popular languages today had a specific problem domain where they shone very brightly at the beginning of their adoption. Java had web applets, PHP had dynamic web content, Delphi had GUI database applications, Perl had text processing, etc. Since Basic and Logo there haven't been any mainstream languages which were especially appropriate for beginners (except for arugably Python).

Regular readers may be surprised to learn, that despite being a statically compiled language, Heron provides extended support for dynamic programming (as of the next release). All of the types and functions in a Heron program are made available at run-time, and can be created or invoked using strings.

As part of the next release (which of course is behind schedule) I am planning on releasing a Heron interpreter and following it up with a programming tutorial. Hopefully there will be some demand for such a thing?

Any thoughts or comments, including ideas for other killer apps would be appreciated!

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About the Blogger

Christopher Diggins is a software developer and freelance writer. Christopher loves programming, but is eternally frustrated by the shortcomings of modern programming languages. As would any reasonable person in his shoes, he decided to quit his day job to write his own ( ). Christopher is the co-author of the C++ Cookbook from O'Reilly. Christopher can be reached through his home page at

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2005 Christopher Diggins. All rights reserved.

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