Carbon – A new programming language by Google
Everyone knows Google’s obsession with creating different frameworks and launching a few programming languages. Dart was one of the programming languages launched by Google which was object-oriented and a web-based programming language.
One programming language named GO gained quite impressive among developers and GO. GO or GoLang was statically typed and explicit. It was a general-purpose programming language that was similar to the C programming language.
Now Google is all set to launch a new programming language called Carbon programming language. Carbon Language could serve as a successor language to C++, one that provides a simple starting point for developers to a newer language that addresses contemporary development concepts like memory safety and generics.
C++ works, but what’s the problem?
C++ has been around the block for much longer than some of us have been alive. Developed in 1982 and released in 1985, C++ has found its way into operating systems, browsers, and games.
While C++ is not the coolest kid to learn (unless you want to go down the game dev track), but it still holds a strong foothold for applications that requires performance, speed, and is a bit strapped with resource availability.
In a nutshell, C++ is a general-purpose programming language that has all the usual bells and whistles such as classes and objects, abstraction, encapsulation, polymorphism, and inheritance. It’s strongly typed, case sensitive, uses pointers, and has a massive functions library.
So, what’s wrong with C++ ?
The general criticism of C++ is that it leans towards being overly complex. IntelliSense generally sucks, no support for first-class functions and tuples, and initializer lists are considered a ‘hack’. In addition to this, there are a few quirks like duplicate syntax and operators such as the & being both a logical operator and a reference.
Then there’s the issue of each compiler vendor making up their own names and prevents linking modules from different compilers.
There’s a bag full of other problems but in short, C++ works but it has its issues.
What Are The Promises Of Carbon?
Starting from the difficulties experienced in the language and in the governance, Carbon adopts a different approach for both areas.
Carbon wants to start from scratch including:
- modern generics system,
- modular code organization,
- simple syntax.
Carbon wants to be “a successor language […], rather than an attempt to incrementally evolve C++”, carbon-lang.
For this reason, it gave up on transparent backward compatibility while remaining interoperable with and migratable from C++.
Carbon wants to be more inclusive by:
- Building on open-source principles, processes, and tools. Contributing is easier and more transparent.
- Having a clear governance structure that can make decisions rapidly when needed.
- Expanding the ecosystem with tools that provide a rich developer experience (compiler, standard library, IDE tools), and tool-based upgrades
- Bridging a gap in the C++ ecosystem with a built-in package manager.
So, when’s the full release?
Currently, Carbon is in an experimental phase. The current roadmap is as follows:
- Release of a core working version (0.1) by end of 2022
- 0.2 in 2023
- Full 1.0 release in 2024–2025
That’s basically it for now. The documentation for Carbon is generally succinct and accessible — even to those who are not C++ developers.