Saturday, May 2, 2009

Python, AWK, Lua Fractal...

I was hanging out in #lua on freenode and someone had mentioned a performance comparison of several languages on some site using a fractal. Lua's numbers looked really good. Yes Python kicks the crap out of Perl and Ruby. This sort of thing makes me evaluate the practicality of acquiring skills in a new language relative to those that I already use. Benchmarks like this don't really represent "real world" general use but they are not entirely ineffectual when it comes to looking at the merits of various languages and implementations.

Java has more coding overhead than languages like Python, Perl, and Ruby but has various performance characteristics that make it attractive, especially for long running processes. Today there's a strong trend toward developing in languages that are dynamic and perform poorly (relatively speaking) with the expectation that hardware can always be added to solve problems in the future. in general I reject this approach to application development. I enjoy coding in Python but also like getting relatively good performance. For this reason Lua has caught my fancy. The coding overhead is relatively low and the performance is relatively high. It's got one of the best balances of the two for my money. AWK is nice too.

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