Survey of Programming Languages
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I know there's some good comparative tables on Wikipedia, and there are other on-line sources of data comparing programming languages, but I'm a book person. Any book suggestions would be appreciated.
As far as obsolescence, that's going to be true of any computer book. But it doesn't stop thousands of computer books from being written. Why not a decent comprehensive survey?
Much has changed since then, and I suspect the equivalent tome today would be a multi volume 6 foot shelf or more.
There have been some attempts at creating a taxonomy of programming languages such as this: http://hopl.murdoch.edu.au/taxonomy.html or a more recent one: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1089733.1089734 which might be good starting points in addition to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_list_of_programming_languages
It appears to me that this is a controversial claim. Creators of new languages appear to think that they are correcting deficiencies of existing languages with respect to some collection of tasks. Authors of language manuals (O'Reilly, etc.) usually have an introductory section discussing the sort of jobs for which the language is particularly well-suited. And the books I cited in Message 1 do address this issue, their shortcoming being that they are out-of-date or too narrow.
In my view in the past 10 or so years there have been no new languages that are radically different. Just new permutations on the same ideas of functional programming, object oriented, aspect oriented, array programming, logic programming, visual programming, lisp, parallel programming and so on. There are far too many programming languages to study but one can put then in a few categories and quickly learn where a new one will fit. This is why I was thinking of taxonomies.