Measuring Programming Language Insanity


I saw a tweet yesterday that someone from the UK ran the Perl interpreter against a SSL certificate:

Since I'm bored out of my mind during this holiday season, I thought it might be fun to run all the programming language compilers/interpreters on my Mac to a self-signed SSL certificate with a real CA cert bundle chained to the end. Here’s what I found, in order of insanity:

Java 1.7

Stops right at the beginning, and not just tells me there’s an error, it even tells me what it was expecting. This is truly professional. Very impressive.

Clang and Clang++

Not as pretty, but pretty damn good error messages too. Good job.

Python 3

Python is such a clean language, even its syntax error is a minimalist language designer’s dream, though it wouldn't hurt if I could know what the parser was expecting. In case you were wondering, Python 2's output is exactly the same.


Not bad either for a language where everything is a string.

Ruby 2

We are starting to get into the insane asylum here. The first + is making Ruby going a little haywire.

Node 0.10

Alright I get it Node! You need to wrap every module in some mysterious “tion” function and it takes a couple of steps for you to get from the CLI to the _compile method. Now get out of my error message.

PHP 5.4

Lazy much PHP?

PostgreSQL 9.3

Shit what did I just do?

Scala 2.10

Ok Scala, you are drunk. Go home.

Perl 5.12

There is nothing scarier than a persistent madman refusing to give up. Someone call 911 please, I’m afraid Perl has a violent tendency to throw garbage at people’s faces.

Thank you for reading this far. Just a reminder, this blog post measured and compared nothing of scientific importance. In fact, it didn’t even compared every language on equal footing.