Some of the most agile and robust programming in New England’s tech sector is now done in alternatives to status quo programming languages. Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java and variations of 30-year-old C still dominate surveys of popular code languages, but adventurous developers are experimenting with relatively obscure languages, and getting powerful results.
Many coders believe Ruby on Rails may be poised to make a dent in Java’s dominance on the front end of web applications. For powerful back-end processes, a handful of developers are turning to Erlang. Developed in the 1980s by the communications company Ericsson, this programming language has developer communities buzzing.
“This is what geeks do. They discover something and then someone becomes a fanatic for it,” said Will Koffel, CTO at Sermo Inc. The Cambridge software company uses component-based Ruby on top of the Rails framework to quickly write and test rich new capabilities in its collaborative application for physicians.