www.digitalmars.com         C & C++   DMDScript  

D - Build it and they will come? Marketing the D language

reply "Pizaz" <me here.com> writes:
With the D version 1.0 release getting ever closer, I wonder if there are
people (e.g. Walter) paying attention to the marketing side of things.  Is
there a plan at all or can the strategy be summarized as "build it and they
will come?"   I hope there  is a plan because I don't think enough people
will come without one.

Obviously D is not backed by a huge corporation like Sun or Microsoft, so
its reasonable to presume that D wont ever have anywhere near the marketing
push that Java and C# had behind them, to lift it out from obscurity.  Times
have changed and there are significant differences in the process by which
new languages are being adopted by programmers and corporate decision
makers.  <blatant generalization> It's not like the days when BASIC, Pascal
and C were introduced where the programmer was free to use any language he
wanted.  Today, choice of language is seldom left to the programmer's
discretion.</blatant generalization>

Can a new language gain acceptance by businesses (product managers and other
corporate decision makers) if there is little hype surrounding its release?

Can a new language ever crawl out from obscurity based predominantly on its
merits?  Are hobbiest and independant developers enough?

Is slow adoption of the language the equivalent of crib death?  It might be
a good idea to compare and contrast the relative rise of new languages like
Ruby http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/  and others
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabetical_list_of_programming_languages   to
gain insight to their "marekting" strategies.

Build it and they will come... that worked in the 80's and early 90's but
can it still work in 2004?

Im curious what success or failure means to Walter with regards to the D
lanugage.  Is success simply designing a useful language regardless of how
many people actually use it?  I for one am not interested in a language
where the only viable internet community several years from now, is still
based around the company's website and news server.  I would regard such a
language a dead end.  Incidentally, if you want to see another programming
language "dead end", check out www.powerbasic.com.  They've arguably one of
the best BASIC compilers around (native win32 exe's and dll's, inline
assembler, pointers, no run-time dll) yet they are not able to make strong
inroads into the VB community because they have a primitive debugger, a
rudimentary IDE, pathetic documentation (compared to the msdn docs on VB),
and a local community full "old school" programmers which the company seems
more intent on appeasing than in adding new features that will attract new
and younger programmers.  Admitedly this is not quite an apples to apples
comparison, but they are at least an example of an alternative language
going up against an entrenched juggernaught (see crib death above).

Finally, D needs to grow its internet "infrastructure" (tutorial sites, code
snippet sites, etc)
D needs to show off more medium to large scale applications that
demonstrates D's maturity and appropriateness for the job.
D also needs to emphasize its Linux/Win32 write once compile on either
capability.  This will be the key to attracting VB and C# programmers to the
language.

What else?

I'd like to see D succeed.  But i think there are alot of hurdles in its
path.
-mj
Feb 11 2004
parent reply larry cowan <larry_member pathlink.com> writes:
In article <c0en4l$1o07$1 digitaldaemon.com>, Pizaz says...
With the D version 1.0 release getting ever closer, I wonder if there are
people (e.g. Walter) paying attention to the marketing side of things.  Is
there a plan at all or can the strategy be summarized as "build it and they
will come?"   I hope there  is a plan because I don't think enough people
will come without one.

It is obvious from the setup here that there is a rather sophisticated plan, and it appears to be working...
Obviously D is not backed by a huge corporation like Sun or Microsoft, so
its reasonable to presume that D wont ever have anywhere near the marketing
push that Java and C# had behind them, to lift it out from obscurity.  Times
have changed and there are significant differences in the process by which
new languages are being adopted by programmers and corporate decision
makers.  <blatant generalization> It's not like the days when BASIC, Pascal
and C were introduced where the programmer was free to use any language he
wanted.  Today, choice of language is seldom left to the programmer's
discretion.</blatant generalization>

Basic was introduced to home computer builders from a university setting, and made popular by Gates porting it to the 3 or 4 common micro cpu's and dealing with the kit and pre-built manufacturers to provide it with the hardware. As was Pascal which was developed a computer programming teaching tool. Much of the path out into the world was provided by a package from UCSD. C was developed inside Bell Labs as a successor to B, and released outside AT&T first to universities, then spreading as it and it's OS, Unix, were taken into industry by the students - and proponent developers like Bill Joy. All of these were carried into industry by their programmers.
Can a new language gain acceptance by businesses (product managers and other
corporate decision makers) if there is little hype surrounding its release?

Probably - it's a matter of degree - everything is hype or boredom. But it can not succeed without programmer acceptance. (VB excepted?)
Can a new language ever crawl out from obscurity based predominantly on its
merits?  Are hobbiest and independant developers enough?

Yes - Perl, Python? No, but if the quality and useability are there to suit a sufficiently important set of problems it will find its home.
Is slow adoption of the language the equivalent of crib death?  It might be
a good idea to compare and contrast the relative rise of new languages like
Ruby http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/  and others
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabetical_list_of_programming_languages   to
gain insight to their "marekting" strategies.

Making money need not be the prime goal, but it has not been forgotten by anyone here.
Build it and they will come... that worked in the 80's and early 90's but
can it still work in 2004?

Why not?
Im curious what success or failure means to Walter with regards to the D
lanugage.

See my first answer above.
Is success simply designing a useful language regardless of how
many people actually use it?  I for one am not interested in a language
where the only viable internet community several years from now, is still
based around the company's website and news server.  I would regard such a
language a dead end.  Incidentally, if you want to see another programming
language "dead end", check out www.powerbasic.com.  They've arguably one of
the best BASIC compilers around (native win32 exe's and dll's, inline
assembler, pointers, no run-time dll) yet they are not able to make strong
inroads into the VB community because they have a primitive debugger, a
rudimentary IDE, pathetic documentation (compared to the msdn docs on VB),
and a local community full "old school" programmers which the company seems
more intent on appeasing than in adding new features that will attract new
and younger programmers.  Admitedly this is not quite an apples to apples
comparison, but they are at least an example of an alternative language
going up against an entrenched juggernaught (see crib death above).

Basic was already dead, except for being carried painfully into the future by MS as VB and... Your "entrenched juggernaut" is always a problem, but it had to accept the internet, and Java, and it will have to either create the best successor to C/C++ or accept that as well. (Bets on which?)
Finally, D needs to grow its internet "infrastructure" (tutorial sites, code
snippet sites, etc)
D needs to show off more medium to large scale applications that
demonstrates D's maturity and appropriateness for the job.
D also needs to emphasize its Linux/Win32 write once compile on either
capability.  This will be the key to attracting VB and C# programmers to the
language.

Don't know that this is exactly the target programmer profile, but it does need to do these things, of course. They are steps to maturity - that's where it is going, not where it is.
What else?

I'd like to see D succeed.  But i think there are alot of hurdles in its
path.
-mj

Feb 12 2004
parent reply Mark T <Mark_member pathlink.com> writes:
If D is only used by by a few thousand programmers 2 years from now it will
still be a great success. Many languages like Lisp, O'Caml etc are used by
relatively small group of programmers but are still considered viable.
Feb 13 2004
parent Sean Kelly <sean ffwd.cx> writes:
Mark T wrote:
 If D is only used by by a few thousand programmers 2 years from now it will
 still be a great success. Many languages like Lisp, O'Caml etc are used by
 relatively small group of programmers but are still considered viable.

As long as D becomes sufficiently established that I can justify its use to an employer I don't much care :) Sean
Feb 13 2004