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matthi Shutterstock Update: So how did we do with these predictions? Check out our March 2016 article that breaks down which of the following languages continue to retain market-share... and which are, indeed, imploding. As developers embrace new programming languages, older languages can go one of two ways: stay in use, despite fading popularity, or die out completely. We predict the following languages will likely die:

Perl

There was a time when everyone seemingly programmed in Perl. But for those of us who used the language regularly, there was something about it that didn't seem right. One programmer I knew called it a “piecemeal” language, because it seemed as if the creators had just piled features on top of features without giving much thought as to how everything fit together. Click here to find programming jobs. Indeed, even its creators seemed to (implicitly) acknowledge that something was wrong, kicking off work on Perl6, currently under development as a complete revamp of the language. Work on Perl6 started in… the year 2000. Where is it? Who cares? Perl is dead. Don't bother learning it. Incidentally, here's a “Goodbye World!” written in Perl:
#!/usr/bin/perl print "Content-type: text/html\n\n"; print "Goodbye, world!\n";
This example (derived from http://www.lies.com/begperl/hello_cgi.html) produces a Web page. Perl, which works as a CGI scripting language, found its most popular use in generating Web pages. The language had its day—but now is as good a time as any to ditch Perl and embrace the 21st century.

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Ruby

Just ten years ago, Ruby was all the rage. Invented in 1995, the unique language hit its stride by the mid-aughts. People who use Ruby on a regular basis absolutely love it. But those of us who grew up with C-style languages tend to have a little trouble learning its ropes. Here's a simple “Goodbye World!” in Ruby:
puts 'Bye bye, Miss American Ruby! Drove my Chevy to the Levie...' puts '2011 was the day that Ruby died, yeah...'
And here's a more complex example that calculates a factorial, found here:
def fact(n)

  if n == 0

    1

  else

    n * fact(n-1)

  end

end

puts fact(ARGV[0].to_i)

I tested this out to find the factorial of 1000. Here's part of the response; I deleted the middle of the 2569 digits to save space:
ruby fact.rb 1000 40238726007709377354370243392300...0000000
By all accounts, it's a cool language and everybody has good things to say about it... except Twitter. In April 2011, Twitter announced that they had rewritten much of their code in order to move away from Ruby and its popular Web framework, Ruby on Rails, claiming the platforms were inefficient. That, I would argue, was the day Ruby started to die; over the past three and a half years, interest has begun to wane. If you love Ruby, you can thank Twitter for its demise.

Visual Basic.NET

Ten years ago, I landed a job rewriting massive amounts of code for a company that shall go nameless, converting from VB6 to Visual basic.NET. I only lasted a couple months before I bailed: It was an excruciating task. Microsoft's long love of the BASIC programming language extends all the way back to 1991, when the company purchased a pretty awesome (for its time) visual programming designer from Alan Cooper. He originally used a different language, but Bill Gates told him to replace the language with BASIC, which he felt was the easiest language in use at the time. For most of the 1990s, we got to see this new breed of BASIC, dubbed Visual Basic, grow to include objects and other newer programming techniques. Then something interesting happened. The guy who headed up the creation of Borland Delphi, Anders Hejlsberg, moved over to Microsoft and headed up the creation of a new language called C#. This language was very similar to Java. It took a while for people to start using it, but once they did, they loved it. C# soon became Microsoft's flagship programming language. To this day, there are many, many C# jobs, and C# programmers command high salaries. While Microsoft created C# to target its own CLR runtime, its engineers also created a version of Gates' beloved BASIC language, named it Visual Basic.NET. The language still bore the syntax of BASIC, but the coding approach was similar to that of C#. Both languages moved forward, but it was inevitable that the world would embrace one (C#) at the expense of the other. That’s why Visual Basic.NET has been reduced to C#’s little stepbrother in hospice care. Here's a Visual Basic.NET program from Microsoft's website:

' Allow easy reference to the System namespace classes.

Imports System

' This module houses the application's entry point.

Public Module modmain

   ' Main is the application's entry point.

   Sub Main()

     ' Write text to the console.

     Console.WriteLine ("Hello World using Visual Basic!")

   End Sub

End Module
(Feel free, of course, to sub out “Hello World” for “Goodbye World.")

Adobe Flash and AIR

Technically these are platforms, not languages. I'm including them because, in order to use them, you need Adobe's own version of EcmaScript, called ActionScript. ActionScript is a close cousin to JavaScript, which (love it or hate it) is one of the most popular languages today due to its implementation in all browsers. ActionScript adds a few details to EcmaScript (which is the official name of the standard, of which JavaScript is an implementation); you won't really find ActionScript anywhere except for Adobe Flash. Do you use Flash? Steve Jobs hated how it hogged his devices’ processors, and refused to allow it onto the iPhone. As the iPhone (and subsequently the iPad) grew in popularity, Web developers found themselves forced to create websites that didn't rely on Flash. Developers who made a living coding up ActionScript for Flash-powered sites screamed bloody murder. (I personally saw a Flash developer tell off a room of JavaScript developers for destroying his career.) Adobe tried to keep its programming platform alive via AIR, paired with a tool for building AIR apps called Flex. AIR was, in the estimation of many, a disaster. It wasn't clear what Adobe wanted out of the whole process; did they want people to ditch Flash and use AIR instead? Or were they expecting AIR and Flash to live on together? For a short time it looked as if AIR would take off, thanks to its use in a popular Twitter platform called TweetDeck, which required users to install the AIR runtime on their computers. That might have opened up millions of PCs for AIR apps, except Twitter bought TweetDeck in 2011 and rewrote it using native code instead of AIR. So much for AIR. And between the deaths of both Flash and AIR, Adobe's ActionScript can kiss the world goodbye as well. Here's some sample ActionScript code. (If you use the Flex command-line tools you can compile this into a Flash thingamajob that you can embed in an HTML page):
package { import flash.display.*; import flash.text.*; public class HelloWorld extends Sprite {

   private var greeting:TextField = new TextField();

public function HelloWorld() {

     greeting.text = "Hello World!";

     greeting.x = 100;

     greeting.y = 100;

     addChild(greeting);

   }

 } }
(Those with programming knowledge might notice how the above looks very similar to JavaScript, both using var, function, and new, and accessing member variables with a dot.)

Delphi's Object Pascal

With sincere apologies to my fallen Delphi comrades, I must announce the death of Object Pascal. Okay, Delphi (the tool for developing Object Pascal) actually lives on, having moved between companies (it originated with Borland, and now sits with Embarcadero). The original Delphi and its Object Pascal language actually presented a great working environment; the language was a bit wordy, but the compiler was fast and it was much easier to create Windows programs in compared to Visual Basic (I'm talking pre-Visual Basic.NET here, around 1995). The momentum didn't continue. It's hard to say just why, since the platform was really quite good. Meanwhile, Borland began supporting C# and C++ in its Delphi line of products. Long story short, Delphi was eventually sold off to Embarcadero, which continues to produce it. It's big, and it's sophisticated, and continues to do reasonably well—but its focus is not Pascal. Yes, you can still do Pascal programming in it, but few people do; in fact, you can use Delphi to build for many different platforms including iOS, Android, and, soon, Linux. But if you go to the Embarcadero website, you’ll see that they mainly promote Delphi’s C++ support. So, Object Pascal is dead. I say this with sadness, as I’ve spent quite a bit of time programming in Pascal and especially Delphi's Object Pascal. But that's life. Here's some Object Pascal code:
program HelloWorld; begin

    writeln('You say goodbye.')

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