Programming Language Explorations  book cover
1st Edition

Programming Language Explorations

ISBN 9781498738460
Published September 20, 2016 by Chapman & Hall
362 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Programming Language Explorations is a tour of several modern programming languages in use today. The book teaches fundamental language concepts using a language-by-language approach. As each language is presented, the authors introduce new concepts as they appear, and revisit familiar ones, comparing their implementation with those from languages seen in prior chapters. The goal is to present and explain common theoretical concepts of language design and usage, illustrated in the context of practical language overviews.

Twelve languages have been carefully chosen to illustrate a wide range of programming styles and paradigms. The book introduces each language with a common trio of example programs, and continues with a brief tour of its basic elements, type system, functional forms, scoping rules, concurrency patterns, and sometimes, metaprogramming facilities.

Each language chapter ends with a summary, pointers to open source projects, references to materials for further study, and a collection of exercises, designed as further explorations. Following the twelve featured language chapters, the authors provide a brief tour of over two dozen additional languages, and a summary chapter bringing together many of the questions explored throughout the text.

Targeted to both professionals and advanced college undergraduates looking to expand the range of languages and programming patterns they can apply in their work and studies, the book pays attention to modern programming practice, covers cutting-edge languages and patterns, and provides many runnable examples, all of which can be found in an online GitHub repository. The exploration style places this book between a tutorial and a reference, with a focus on the concepts and practices underlying programming language design and usage. Instructors looking for material to supplement a programming languages or software engineering course may find the approach unconventional, but hopefully, a lot more fun.

Table of Contents

Introduction. JavaScript. CoffeScript. Ruby. Python. Lua. Julia. Hack. Java. Scala. Clojure. C. C++. Rust. Go. Swift. Glossary.  Additional Languages. Assembly Languages. Virtual Machines. Understanding Numbers. Understanding Characters. Bibliography index.

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Ray Toal is Professor of Computer Science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where he has been teaching since 1986. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1993 in semantics, with minors in theoretical computer science and database systems. His current research interests are in programming language design, compilers, APIs, and large scale infrastructure. He has consulted for a number of companies in the Los Angeles area, including Citysearch/CityGrid, Medaxis, Friendbuy, Handmade Mobile, M-GO, and Criteo. Ray has authored three books on programming languages and has been involved with projects at the Human Advancement Research Community (HARC).


"This book tackles the task of describing programming languages effectively and efficiently. The authors adopt a principle-based approach that allows readers to recognize how fundamental computer science concepts take form in each of the presented programming languages. This allows readers to experience how each language includes some subset of these concepts, and thus becomes suitable for different tasks. In this approach, functionality emerges as the embodiment of these fundamentals. Readers are then encouraged to find commonalities and themes in the material by following exercises, which also provide the means to further the study of any one of the presented languages. The final chapter links all of the material explicitly through a series of recurring themes of interest to software engineers and computer scientists. Although the book can be useful to any technical and academic audience, it will be better suited for upper-division undergraduate students, graduate students, or professionals seeking further development."
—L. Benedicenti, Choice, May 2017

"All in all, this book makes for a great browse, an interesting read if one wishes to learn about different programming paradigms and languages, and a very clear and well-organized textbook. The language is crisp and concise, and assumes a familiarity with programming. I teach an upper-undergraduate module on the principles of programming languages, and plan to make use of this book extensively to help give students insights into the vast but interesting landscape of programming languages."
—Sara Kalvala, ACM Computing Reviews, May 2017