Here be dragons

Hiya! I’m Conor O’Brien, just a common golfer and esolang designer. Today, the topic is generally about esolangs! Now, you may be wondering…

…what’s an esolang?

Oh! Glad you asked! An esolang is an esoteric language. That is, it’s not one used for conventional programming, and often are minimalist in nature, confusing by design, or just flat-out weird. They constitute a big part of the PPCG community, and are in my opinion one of its best parts. Under this class of languages are golfing languages, which I’ll talk about separately later.

Some of the most common esolangs of the plethora you’ll see include:

While there are a virtually infinite amount of esolangs, these are some of the oldest and most popular. They are simple in design, but have a steep learning curve.

Golfing languages

Ah, the topic of most importance. Well, not really. It’s kinda important though, so don’t tune out. A golfing language is a language made specifically for code golfing. Shocking, I know. These are perhaps the crux of code golf, in that they are often insanely short.

There are also languages that are naturally terse and lend themselves to code golf, and the difference between terse and golfing languages is small. Mainly, it’s the purpose of the language that separates them. Also, if the language was made before 2007, there’s a really good chance that it’s not a golfing language.

Here are a list of some common golfing languages, not in any particular order:

There are probably a few that I’m forgetting. Please drop a click to this link on a list of languages made by members of the PPCG community.

Whoa, there’s so many! Which should I learn?

There’s no clear answer to this. My personal approach is to make an esolang that does what I want, but not everyone has that option, haha. It really just depends on what you want to do with the language. If you’re looking for golfiness, you could go with Jelly. If you’re more the ASCII-type fellow, Pyth’s always a good choice. CP437 more your style? Then go with Seriously!

Well, yeah. You might have seen that I can’t really help you here. I really suggest you learn a truly esoteric language, like those mentioned in the first list. You could always, of course, take a look at a random esolang. That’s always fun.


Esolangs are as various as the people who make them. They are one of my favorite aspects of this site and of coding in general. I will be talking about specific esolangs and esolang design in the future. If you liked, consider following the blog. If you didn’t, well… there’s always code review.