In a very real sense, Microsoft may have had more to do with the creation of the so-called “dynamic language” than most any other company. Back when the BASIC language interpreter shipped as part of the ROM of machines like Radio Shack’s breakthrough TRS-80, I and many other novice developers first experimented with the prospects of code that changes itself to suit the specific needs of users. It involved statements with terms like “POKE,” which was exactly as dangerous as it sounds.
Today, the re-emergence of dynamic applications through Web-oriented languages like Python and Ruby has awakened an old spirit within Microsoft, which is rediscovering a concept it helped create decades ago…and after years of denying its presence and usefulness, has now come around to embracing it.
With the introduction of version 3.5 of that amalgam of technologies collectively referred to as the .NET Framework, Microsoft added a layer called the dynamic language runtime (DLR), which is designed to be more adaptive than C# or statically-typed Visual Basic.
During demonstrations at TechEd last week, simple game experiments that required a modicum of skill and patience for a C# Express developer – even an experienced one – were pretty much replicated by another demonstrator using IronPython, and a console whose command line looked wasn’t so far removed from the “READY>” prompt of three decades earlier.
Microsoft, .NET, Evangelist, Future Role, Dynamic Languages