The top 5 programming languages you've never heard of

2015-03-07 ⋅ Comments

Lately, there's been a large surge in new programming languages as projects such as Rust have been taking the spotlight and showing lots of promise. However, there are some programming languages few have heard of that deserve to be more popular. Here's a brief listing of some of my favorite languages that aren't common sights.


Nim is more popular than most languages on this list. It recently acquired corporate backing from 3DICC and is under very active development. Here's a factorial program in Nim:

import unsigned, strutils

proc fac(n: int): uint64 =
  if n <= 1:
    return n.uint64
    return n.uint64() * fac(n-1)

stdout.write "Number: "
var number = stdin.readLine.parseInt

if number < 0:
  echo "Number must be greater than 0"
  quit QuitFailure

echo fac number


Felix is an experimental programming language that covers most problems in a unique way. It's very functional and has great coroutine support, a nice threading system, and a grammar defined in user space (a.k.a. you can extend the grammar inside your own programs). You run your files just like a scripting language:

$ flx my_prog.flx arg1 arg2

Here's a factorial program, this time in Felix:

// Recursive factorial
fun fac(n: int) =>
    if n <= 1
    then n.ulong
    else n.ulong * fac(n-1)

// Read a number from stdin
print "Number: ";
var number = cstdin.readln.int;

if number < 0 do
    println "Number must be greater than 0";

// Print factorial
println $ fac number


Myrddin is, to quote the web page, "A toy with delusions of usefulness." Well, it's pretty useful to me. It's my new favorite low-level language (yes, above Rust). Following is yet another factorial program, but this one in, guess what, Myrddin:

use std
use bio

const fac = {n: int -> uint64
    if n <= 1
        -> n castto (uint64)
        -> (n castto (uint64)) * fac(n-1)

const main = {
    var stdin = bio.mkfile(0, bio.Rd)
    std.put("Number: ")
    match bio.readln(stdin)
    | `std.Some s:
        match std.intparse(std.strstrip(s))
        | `std.Some n:
            if n < 0
                std.put("Number must be greater than 0\n")
            std.put("%l\n", fac(n))
        | `std.None:
            std.put("error parsing integer input\n")
    | `std.None:
        std.put("error reading input\n")

Notice the explicit error handling.


K (and it's open source counterpart, Kona ) is a very unique language. Here's a factorial function in K:


If that isn't readable enough, here's another version:


You can now call it:


K is actually surprisingly readable once you learn it...provided you don't get a nervous breakdown and blow your eyes out in the process. :)


Objeck is kind of how Java should've been. Here's a factorial in Objeck (the language has a factorial function built in, but this is a custom one):

class Factorial {
    function : native : Factorial(n : Int) ~ Int {
        if (n <= 1) {
            return n;
        } else {
            return n * Factorial(n-1);

    function : Main(args : String[]) ~ Nil {
        "Number: "->Print();
        number := IO.Console->ReadString()->ToInt();
        if (number < 0) {
            "Number must be greater than 0"->PrintLine();

Final notes

I hope one of the languages here catches your eye. Just note that Myrddin and Felix are still VERY experimental.