11 IoT Programming Languages Worth Knowing - InformationWeek

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3/8/2015
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11 IoT Programming Languages Worth Knowing

Choosing which language to use for an Internet of Things project can be as big a decision as choosing a hardware platform. Here are 11 options to consider for your next coding project.
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Internet of Things (IoT) development projects are springing up at businesses all over the world. New hardware platforms make embedded systems in IoT applications easier to engineer than ever before. Once you've chosen the hardware platform, though, you still must develop the application software, and that's where more (and often, more difficult) decisions must be made.

Not so very long ago, your choice of programming language was pretty much dictated by your choice of hardware platform. More modern platforms that are based on open source standards and able to support multiple languages make for much more flexibility and, therefore, more choices. That's where we come in.

How do you decide which programming language to use in a particular IoT project? In some cases, your options still will be limited by your hardware platform. In others, though, you'll be able to choose from a language based on factors such as whether your enterprise dev team is already familiar with it, whether it works within the environment used by other components of the total IoT system, or whether it produces code that is smaller, more efficient, or more rapidly written than that of other options.

[Read about what you can and can't do with Raspberry Pi 2.]

There are 11 languages that float to the top of the consideration pool when it comes to programming embedded systems. They range from general-purpose languages like C++ and Java to embedded-specific choices like Go and Parasail. Each offers advantages and disadvantages. After you've reviewed the following pages to see what we've come up with, meet us in the comments section below to let us know what your preferred language options are when you're considering embedded and IoT development projects.

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Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications ... View Full Bio

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Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
3/9/2015 | 10:59:40 PM
Re: Programming Languages
@cwasser10: Tower of Babel is an apt analogy. My sense is that, with IoT specificaly, it's still such early days that there hasn't been enough time or experimentation for a de facto standard to shake out.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/9/2015 | 9:36:14 PM
Go appears to be going strong
Enjoyed your descriptions of Go, Rust and Parasail, Curt. Among the languages I heard mentioned at the Linux Collaborative Summit, an event that attracts Linux kernel developers, Go was the one most frequently mentioned in favorable terms.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
3/9/2015 | 9:45:54 AM
Re: Assembler language for embedded systems: please do not
@maddoghall, I've spent time toiling in the assembler mines, starting with PDP-11 and IBM BAL. And I absolutely agree with you: assembler will teach you more about how the processor (and its related systems) works than will any other language.

And I also agree that it's terrible from a productivity standpoint. And I can't even imagine trying to do optimal multi-core assembler code -- it makes my head hurt just to think about it.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
3/8/2015 | 5:18:45 PM
Re: Foundational
@danielcawrey, many roads do lead back to C -- just as so many roads lead back to Algol. I agree that being able to use familiar languages will do nohing but help IoT development efforts. Not so very long ago an embedded development project meant spending time learning the very special language specific to the embedded platform. It's nice to be able to remove that particular step from the process.
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