December 12, 2004
An empirical comparison of C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Rexx, and Tcl
It sounds like a really objective way of comparing languages right? Well almost. Unfortunately he chooses a problem that is ideally suited to scripting languages so it's hardly any surprise when they come out best. I don't think that this kind of experiment is going to produce useful results unless the problem being specified is reasonably large scale. That is not because I think scripting languages are bad for larger scale programming. It is because languages like Java, C and C++ are especially bad for very simple programs. But I don't really care about simple programs because I spend virtually no time writing them.
But it's not a complete loss. I am interested in how much more productive programmers can become when they use a scripting language. So any productivity boost for a problem tailored to scripting languages is a kind of upper bound on the improvement I might see for a problem that was not so tailored. I think.
The conclusion was that the script programmers took half as long as the Java / C / C++ programmers and produced half as many lines of code to solve the same (tailor made) problem. That comes as a relief to me. Some scripting language advocates will try and make you believe scripting language X is going to make you 10 times faster.
So it looks as though there might be some potential benefit in using a scripting language for game code, but it is by no means a silver bullet.