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Quora Answer : Do you see the Red programming language eventually becoming mainstream or remaining a niche language?

Oct 13, 2019

Language popularity is almost entirely a function of a language being the de facto language for programming "platform X" where "platform X" is a platform people really want to program at the moment.

So C was the language of Unix. Javascript was the language of browsers. PHP was the language of web-servers. Ruby was the language of Rails (advanced web-servers). Python has become the language of TensorFlow. Etc.

Occasionally a language appears that offers itself as being a "Write Once. Run Anywhere" language whose "platform X" is actually a kind of meta-platform virtual machine that runs across many platforms.

Java succeeded by selling itself as that. Javascript has thrived on this too. It runs on browsers which hide the underlying OS from you. And now it even does mobile via Cordova etc.

Without being the de facto language for a platform. Or telling a compelling cross-platform story, most languages languish in obscurity. However good, powerful, revolutionary they are.

If Red wants to succeed it needs to find a niche like this.

I think its best chance is to be something like "the best language for beginners to cross-compile graphical apps to native on multiple platforms." That seems to be cross-platform niche that isn't occupied by anything at the moment. Maybe its competition is things like Haxe and Nim. But Red can plausibly compete with them. Java is always going to be thought of as VM language, even with Graal.

Of course, one reason the niche isn't occupied yet, is because it's hard work to support all those platforms at the native level. But Red is allegedly doing reasonably in this area. And is still small and simple enough that its standard libraries could presumably be worked to make native platform calls on the big 5 platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS).

If I were running Red I'd be laser-focused on that. Not faffing about with blockchains.