Turning over a new letter in programming languages

D programming language

It can be difficult to keep up with the IT world, let alone get ahead of it. Technologies can become obsolete almost in the blink of an eye, and major advances can rocket out of obscurity and into the mainstream just as quickly. The challenge faced by certification providers is to identify needs fast enough to develop certifications in time for them to be useful, rather than merely give a redundant pat on the back to those who are already immersed in the tech. With this in mind, we should be keeping an eye out for the inevitable rise of certifications for the programming language "D."


While so far there don't seem to by any credible certifications for the fledgling language, they're sure to pop up as D gains traction. Already one of the 20 most popular languages in the world, D has been used everywhere from a German start-up to parts of Facebook. Programmers enjoy using it because it combines the simplicity of languages like Python and Ruby with an amount of control and specificity rivalling, if not surpassing, heavyweights like C++. And while the future of the language is not necessarily secure, D has already proven it has legs.


The two big names in D are Walter Bright and Andrei Alexandrescu. In 1999 and after a lengthy six weeks of retirement, Walter Bright decided he'd had enough of the good life and knuckled down to develop a new programming language. Bright loved C and C++ but felt like they had already peaked; any C language had to be backwards-compatible, and the developers of the language could only stretch so far while still anchored to the original C. Bright wanted to start fresh, with a new compiler and a new language free from the constraints of outdated and obsolete code. He got to work.


A few years later, Bright posted his work-in-progress on Slashdot and was overwhelmed with support. His solo project became a community effort, with volunteers from all over the world contributing to his project. One of these was a friend of Bright's: Andrei Alexandrescu, an academic who abandoned his own language in order to push D forward.


Alexandrescu would go on to literally write the book on D and, after being put on the Facebook language team, he developed parts of Facebook's back-end in the language. Facebook has hosted the last two D conferences, including the most recent one in May; and while Facebook is not officially backing the language, its partial adoption of D has the language's community excited.


Despite its fairly long history, D is just now going mainstream. Anyone interested in a more extensive and technical overview of the language can get it straight from the horse's mouth — Alexandrescu made the case for D on the Dr. Dobbs blog in 2009, and Bright tells how he made the decision to develop D on the same site. It's never easy to tell what's viable and what's not in terms of programming languages. D has already made it farther then a lot of languages, however, and it doesn't look like it's cooling off anytime soon.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author
David Telford

David Telford is a short-attention-span renaissance man and university student. His current project is the card game MatchTags, which you can find on Facebook and Kickstarter.