The Programmer’s Guide to Choosing a Drink

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To celebrate the commencement of Oktoberfest  festivities in Munich this weekend (and because it’s always fun to think about alcohol), we’re bringing you a handy-dandy guide to see how your programming languages match up to your favorite drinks. It’s important to be prepared –  If all the programming languages were to suddenly turn into drinks, we should know what sort of world we’d be getting (besides a very drunk one)!

C – Tequila.  It gets the job done quickly, but using it isn’t usually that great of an experience.  Everybody uses it at some point, but not too many stick with it unless there’s no other choice, or they need it to do its thing fast.  And if you don’t use it exactly right, chances are things are going to go horribly wrong.

Ruby – Scotch.  You can use it for years, and still discover strange new undertones you hadn’t noticed before.  And then you add a dash of water and discover everything is changed.  But it’s easy to ruin the magic if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Python – Irish Whiskey.  When first starting, you have two main options – Bushmills or Jameson?  Python 2 or 3?  But once you choose one and go with it, it’s remarkably smooth.  There’s not a huge amount of subtlety, but it’s pretty easy to get into and use.

Java – Vodka.  It’s everywhere.  It can be used in pretty much any situation, and most people are willing to use it when it’s the most convenient thing on hand.  But excluding a group of really dedicated fans, it’s not generally people’s first choice.  It just doesn’t have the same elegance as some of the alternatives.  But it can be mixed with other things pretty easily, for those who can’t stand using it straight.

Scheme – Bourbon.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but once you get used to it, it’s amazingly versatile.  It can be mixed or taken straight, and can be used in most environments.  Some people love it, some people can’t stand it.  It has some tantalizing similarities to other types of whiskey, and yet has its own very distinct character.

C# – Sake.  Hugely popular in one area.  There have been attempts to port it to other areas, but in most cases it’s still more of a quirky specialty item.   Although it looks a lot like vodka/Java, using it is remarkably smooth and feels much different.  When mixed with other things, it will either go incredibly well, or go terribly wrong.

Brainf*ck – Absinthe.  It really only exists because, well, why not?  It’s probably nothing like anything you’ve had before, and using it might be actively damaging your brain, but there’s something oddly fascinating about it that makes it hard to turn away.  Most people wouldn’t use it for serious business, but will give it a try for the novelty.

Javascript – Fermented apple juice.   Is it an alcoholic drink, or an accident?  Nobody knows.  But it’s there, so people use it.  It’s not quite at the same level of sophistication as the alternatives, but maybe if you give it a chance to grow a little more it will get there…

There you have it – picking a programming language is a lot like picking a drink. So choose wisely and enjoy your Oktoberfest weekend! But wait, there are so many languages you left out, you may say. Rather than me listing them all (because frankly, there are a ton), I’ll turn it over to you now.  What have I missed? What’s your favorite language, and what drink does it compare to?

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