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The Ages of Programming Language Creators

by Breck Yunits

May 19, 2024 — Dennis Ritchie created C when he was 31. Douglas Crockford created JSON when he was 46. Ken Iverson created J at age 70. Here is a new dataset with "ageAtCreation" for 185 programming languages.

36median age 37.5avg age
16min age 70max age

Interactive Version.

No one under 20 has ever created a popular programming language

Aaron Swartz created atx at 16, which hinted at his later work with John Gruber on Markdown. Rasmus Lerdorf created PHP at age 27. Stallman created Emacs at 23.

But no one under 20 ever created a top language. I find that mildly interesting.

Programming Language Creation Peaks In Your 30's

Programmers create the most languages in their 30's. Programmers in their 40's create the second most. After that it drops off.

Keep on Creating

TypeScript, Go, JSON, and Clojure are a handful of very popular Top 100 languages that were created by people in their 40's and 50's.

Creating your own languages is fun (most of the time), regardless of whether it catches on. But it can be even more fun to build one that catches on, and it's never too late to start something new.


Analyze this data yourself in Ohayo

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