The Lifecycle of a Programming Language by Jaagup Averin. I chose this paper due to the similarities with my own, making it an intriguing and informative read about the sibling aspects that were out of scope for my own topic.
Focusing solely on the choice of topic, I consider it to be excellent as it sheds light on something that is accepted, but rarely talked about in detail. Most computer scientists and programmers know that new languages come out, and are designed for more specific tasks, and therefore it seems logical the older ones would die and be replaced, but a lot of aspects both technical and human go unmentioned.
The paper does keep in line with the topic having a logical and progresssive structure starting with some background information and chronologically evolving to the modern age, however that is also where the first flaw comes in, which is the lack of variety. While the paper excels in giving an overview of why and how some languages came to be, and why they were deprecated from a technical standpoint, they all get the same reason. To me personally, the paper lacks the depth in explaining more in detail why some these changes come to be, and only covers it a bit more in detail when it comes to COBOL.
This leads to my next critique, which would be the lack of own-input. While the paper is very informative, and ties together a fairly wide overview of the history of major language cycles, it doesn’t cover common aspects to cycles, lacking more in-depth analysis such as the average lifespan of a language for example, but it also lacks the author’s own viewpoints and thoughts.
While undeniably researched and clear to the author, the topic felt more like stitching together pieces of the past rather than looking for meaning behind it, lacking some “punch” to make the paper stand out. This is definitely not due to the author’s command of English, as the wording and language level are excellent, so it may very well be that during research, Jaagup simply got absorbed a bit too much, forgetting to explore more obscure parts of the topic. This interest can be seen with the flow of the text, which is very consistent and well paced: neither too much information, nor does it drag on.
A last remark I would add, is that while the paper has some great sources and references, it does lack some too. There are many places where the author claims or states historical events, or views of the industry without sourcing them. While they are to some extent common-knowledge, they are still the product of research and therefore could use some documentation, if not for academic correctness, then at least for additional infromation for a passionate reader.
Overall, it is a great and interesting paper, however it could have used some more in-depth personal analysis, and a bit less of historical context and background, that made the paper lack a bit of character. A pleasant read nonetheless about a topic too many of tend to pay no mind to.