A few weeks ago a ran across an old bookmark outlining the esoteric programing language Piet. I spent a little time trying to grok this language along with a few others that I had run across.
Normally when any programmer decides to tackle a language such as this it isn’t for any purpose other then education and perhaps masochism. But I believe it helps in thinking outside the box and it provides a groundwork for greater programing topics such as Turing completeness.
I originally thought I’d write a simple list of odd programing languages I’ve found, but shortly into my search for languages I ran across a wiki about esoteric programming languages which seemed to do the job for me.
But just for fun I’ll post a few languages I’ve run across in my time.
- A language created by Urban MÃ¼ller so that the compiler can be made as small as possible. He succeeded in writing a 240 byte compiler and others have since written some that are less then 200 bytes. Brainfuck consists of eight commands notated by the symbols <>+-., all other characters are ignored.
- A tounge-in-cheak language which was designed to be as unlike any other programming language as possible. From the manual: ‘The full name of the compiler is “Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym”, which is, for obvious reasons, abbreviated “INTERCAL”.’ To give an example the ‘PLEASE’ modifier in INTERCAL provides two paths of rejection. If a programmer does not use the modifier often enough the program is considered rude and will not run. If there are too many the program is considered too polite and will not run.
- A language whose programs are written to look like abstract art. It utilizes eighteen colors which are cyclically related with the hue and lightness of the color, along with black and white which are used to control program flow.
- Whitespace is a language which uses only spaces, tabs and newlines as its commands unlike other languages who usually ignore these characters.
- A language designed to be as difficult as posible. The name is from the eigth layer of hell in Dante’s Inferno.
- A new joke language which is actively being developed.