How Saffire doesn't do things different

Warning: This blogpost has been posted over two years ago. That is a long time in development-world! The story here may not be relevant, complete or secure. Code might not be complete or obsoleted, and even my current vision might have (completely) changed on the subject. So please do read further, but use it with caution.
Posted on 21 Feb 2013
Tagged with: [ saffire

The question I get asked a lot, is what makes Saffire different? The most honest answer: nothing. There is absolutely nothing that makes Saffire different from other language, because Saffire doesn’t do things different. And there is a good reason for this: after many decades  of developing languages by many and much smarter people than yours truly, I do not pretend to have found the correct way on how to do things different - and better.

But why should you use Saffire then? If we aren’t any different from Python or PHP, which have been stable for many years, why should we even consider looking at Saffire? The reason for this is because we try to implement all the best things of all other languages into one. In a sense, we try to be a composition of the best of other languages. And of course, we tend to throw in some unique flavor to it. But not much. We don’t create the language for the sake of creating a new language which takes too long to learn. We try and implement ideas we had over the past few years which seems to be missing in other languages. But for the most, don’t expect Saffire to be a brand-new language. Expect Saffire to be a language remarkably close to what you already know, but with only the good, not the bad and the ugly.

This has consequences though. We will never be number one in the field. We probably will always come second. Python and Ruby are still competing for system development (although ruby is leading with a nose-length at the moment), and even though everybody hates it, PHP is still leading the pack when it comes to web development. How good Saffire will become in the future,  I think we will never beat those languages unless we might release something at the right time, and at the right place (which is how things get big, being the best has got not much to do with it).

But, if you are a enthusiastic poker player like I am, you will understand the next line: “never be afraid of the guy that won the last tournament. Be afraid of the guy who consistently comes in second”. You see, there aren’t many players around who keep winning tournament after tournament, but you will find that the good players sit on the final table and come in 2nd or 3rd again and again. Those people are the ones you need to reckon with, not the player who - by mostly luck - is leading with a massive amount of chips. Saffire might come in second, but it consistently comes in second in all areas. We want to become the language that people get used to, and that both system and web developers can use to do their daily work. Because there’s an upside on consistently coming in second: it probably means you’re number 1 overall.

We know our goal. We keep it close enough so we can actually reach it, and we keep it far enough to keep us enthusiastic enough to keep running towards that goal. After roughly 6 months of work, which not that many people around, and even less contributers, we are still moving forward with great speed. It takes time, and dedication to release our first releases, but we are getting there.. as being the quiet guy sitting on the final table..