Most programmers specialise in a particular paradigm. Object-oriented programming is one of the most common forms, but the categories are numerous. They include imperative, procedural, logical and much more. Other programmers become familiar with multiple paradigms but only work with a handful of them. Keep in mind, programming courses and curriculums in general often teach as many of these methods as possible. It is just that coders and professionals most often work with a small selection of them.
It makes sense as most languages adhere to a single paradigm. This applies to both a language and the development environment that is used to work with it. But hybrid programming languages also exist, often called multi-paradigm languages. They exist to simplify the development process by allowing programmers to work with the method that suits the project best.
One of the most common multi-paradigm or hybrid languages is C# which uses a mix of imperative and object-oriented paradigms. Python, Scala and Lisp are other great examples of multi-paradigm or hybrid languages. Hybrid languages are becoming more common these days as both the devices and the platform developers are working together to become more complex and advanced. Moreover, working with a multi-paradigm language is more convenient, especially when you need access to a versatile environment.
If you’ve never worked with multi-paradigm or hybrid languages, and you might find it difficult to get started, we’ve put together some tips that should help you become more familiar with this growing medium.
Experiment with varying paradigms
Just like staying up-to-date and current on the latest standards and development trends is important, so is exploring and experimenting with alternate solutions. Obviously, if the goal is to beat a deadline or be efficient, use a paradigm you’re familiar with that you know will work. But for smaller projects and personal work, don’t be afraid to branch out and try varying solutions.
You may find that an alternate paradigm works more in your favor than you expected.
Assess the project
If the project you’re working on is your sole responsibility, then there’s nothing wrong with mixing and matching paradigms throughout the timeline. But if you are working with a team or multiple programmers then productivity may suffer by swapping around your focus. Most importantly, it may increase the number of errors, bugs and mistakes in your code especially when others review and update it.
Before beginning a project, always assess the scale and participation levels to be sure it matches multi-paradigm work. This, in and of itself, will help you better learn how and where to use hybrid programming.
Always plan ahead
Working with hybrid programming methods and multi-paradigm languages is not something you can just suddenly decide to start doing or switch to. You must plan in a more structured manner. Make sure you put together a road map or rough outline before you sit down to do your coding. Decide when and where to switch paradigms and then try to explore the differences between them. Always look for a more efficient approach, and try to do enough research to ensure you choose the appropriate paradigm for the scenario.
Just the act of planning out your steps and roadmap will help you become more familiar with hybrid languages and methods.
Learn a new general language
While it’s not technically true of every general language, most of them are multi-paradigm focused at their core. This is because the focus of general programming languages is to make them as versatile and easy to use as possible. So it makes sense to work with multiple methods and paradigms.
You always want to double-check before learning a new language whether or not it is truly multi-paradigm. But you can work on learning new languages that you wouldn’t otherwise use. A programmer with a more versatile portfolio will be in high demand everywhere, so it can only help your career.
Remember, multi-paradigm languages are essentially alternate methods of development and coding. One great way to become familiar with other methods is to branch out from the norm. Take on some projects that you wouldn’t usually participate in. Try a different language or development environment. Get involved with fellow developers and coders outside of your usual circles.
Not all of these things are guaranteed to open you up to multi-paradigm languages, of course, but it is still a great process to use to expand your knowledge and skills.
They say one of the best ways to learn something is to teach, and that’s certainly true of programming. Don’t think you have to run out and get a job at your local college. You can easily educate colleagues, friends, family, and others online.
Take some time to research and explain other paradigms that you aren’t as familiar with. Throughout the process of gathering the necessary information, you’ll learn quite a bit yourself.