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Funniest Programming Languages

Programming has come a really long way; from writing in Assembly back in the day, to the more modern solutions in Python, Java, C, php and more. It’s been a very long time since we had to write in BASIC, though some people still do. Knowledge of many kinds of programming languages makes you a polyglot programmer, which is a highly sought after skill in the work force – However, some students have gone out of their way to make programming languages for their dissertation/final year’s project. In fact, this is how a lot of tech starts; even Facebook started as a way for people on Mark Zuckerberg’s campus to communicate, before it became the giant it is now.

With this said, this article is only looking at Esoteric languages which I genuinely find amusing – and hopefully you will too. I learned about all of these wonderfully quirky languages through the website 99-bottles-of-beer.net. One day, I would love to submit my very own addition to the ever-growing list; but in the mean time, I thought I’d have a look at 5 languages that particularly make me chuckle; as well as to point out the shocking fact that it’s possible to achieve the site’s goal using these languages. Before we go on, I will state I know little next to nothing about most of these languages, bar that I find them highly amusing – So hopefully this’ll make for some light hearted Sunday reading!


5 Funniest Programming Languages

5) ZOMBIE

zombie

Moan, Shamble and Summon aren’t words you’d commonly associate with coding – Unless of course, you’re hoping to moan your way through the final summoning of your latest shamble that you call an application.

Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week.

But joking aside, ZOMBIE is a surprisingly powerful and well thought out language for what is effectively a bit of a laugh. The design principles behind ZOMBIE are:

  • The language should allow the necromancer to animate dead bodies, summon and control spirits, and solve any computable problem.
  • There should be sensible guarantees against overwriting system memory, monopolising CPU cycles, and releasing malicious entities into the world.
  • The language must be inherently evil.

To use this language to make anything meaningful, you have to use an interpreter made from Python. If you’re interested in having a go with this yourself, then check out the interpreter here… But be warned: If you’re new to programming or even compiling an interpreter like this, then it might be trickier than you anticipated.

Click here for the 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net page for ZOMBIE.

4) The Shakespeare Programming Language

shakespeare

Yes, THAT Shakespeare.

This language is simply a hoot – It’s made to look more like a play written by ol’ Bill himself. This is a hard one to explain, but the jist of it is really relatively straight forward:

Characters from Shakespeare’s plays are basically variables. If you want a variable’s value to increase or decrease, two characters take to the stage and the one with the value you want decreasing (for instance) would take an insult from the other. They can also be used to held valuable information, by having one character (the variable in question) ask the other to listen their heart and speak their mind. Kind of genius. Here’s a small snippet of the code in action:

Romeo:
	Thou art as lovely as the sum of a charming handsome healthy
	lovely pretty noble angel and the sum of a sweet beautiful
	lovely fine sunny summer's day and the sum of a fair warm golden
	hair and the sum of a little animal and a cat. Speak your mind.    
[Exit Juliet]
[Enter Emilia]
Romeo:
	Speak your mind.
Emilia:
	Speak your mind.
[Exit Emilia]
[Enter Oberon]
Romeo:
	Speak your mind.
[Exit Oberon

There seems to be a rather high occurance rate of the term “speak your mind”. I wonder why…Oh and you can get a compiler for this language here.

Click here for the 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net page for The Shakespeare Programming Language.

3) Malbolge

This screenshot is only a tiny snippet of code that goes on for a long time.

This screenshot is only a tiny snippet of code that goes on for a long time.

This one makes it to the list because of one thing and one thing only… Shock value. Malbolge is a stunningly complex language, which was made purely because it could be. Want to see what it looks like? Check out the image above. That’s not a joke; that’s an actual screenshot from the 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net page for Malbolge.

This has a staggering 58 comments on it, of people basically just losing their mind over the monstrosity. So I thought I’d attempt to decipher how on Earth you’d make even the most basic application (Hello World) out of this. The answer is here… And how do you learn to do this? No idea. Time. Lots and lots of it. And patience and serious programming knowledge.

If you’re looking for a way to compile Malbolge programs; well you can’t… but here’s the interpreter.

Click here for the 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net page for Malbolge.

2) Ook!

ook

At this point, your head is now spinning and you just want to down a bottle of beer and end your worries. Don’t worry. I’m not even going to try to delve into it… But look at how glorious Ook! really is. Here’s the compiler. Above is just a snippet of the code.

Ook? Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook.

I have no idea what I just said. But this was going to be my number 1 choice… Until I discovered the next language on this list.

Click here for the 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net page for Ook.

1) LOLCODE

lolcode

I mean it’s kind of in the name: Laugh Out Loud Code!… Okay no, it’s just LOLCODE. You can get the interpreter for LOLCODE here.

Literally meant to copy the style of “speech” seen in typical LOLCat images, LOLCODE is a relatively easy language to understand. Want to see what it looks like? Here you go:

HAI
    VISIBLE "O HAI! IM IN UR BEERZ!"
    I HAS A VAR
    LOL VAR R 99
    IM IN YR LOOP
        VISIBLE VAR!
        VISIBLE " BOTTLZ OF BEER N TEH WALL, "!
        VISIBLE VAR!
        VISIBLE " BOTTLZ OF BEER!"
        VISIBLE "TAKE 1 DWN, PAS IT AROUN, "!
        NERFZ VAR!!
        IZ VAR LIEK 0?
            YARLY
                VISIBLE "NO MOAR"!
            NOWAI
                VISIBLE VAR!
        KTHX
        VISIBLE " BOTTLZ OF BEER N TEH WALL!"
        IZ VAR LIEK 0?
            GTFO
        KTHX
    KTHX
    VISIBLE "GIEV MOAR PLZ! KTHXBAI!"
KTHXBYE
(This is the whole of the LOLCODE entry for 99-Bottles-Of-Beer and it's actually a very good implementation!

What amazes me with LOLCODE is people can genuinely do quite a bit with this… But, to take it a step further, there’s an active IRC channel and there are even forums for it! CAN I HAZ LOLCODE NAO?

Click here for the 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net page for LOLCODE.


That’s it, I’m done listing some of the funniest programming languages I’ve ever seen. I’d have known about none of them without 99-Bottles-Of-Beer.net which has thoroughly entertained me for a long time now. Please check the site out and if you’re a programmer, why not get involved? In the mean time, let us know what you think in the comments below. Is Ook! just charming enough, or is there a better language, such as the language it’s based off? Perhaps there’s a more logical language than all of these which is even funnier still? Or perhaps you didn’t know programming could be so… Weird? Let us know everything below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

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