Guvi-blog-logo

8 Most Difficult Programming Languages

Most difficult programming languages

Once upon a time, there were three friends who were all technology freaks. Eager to persuade a career in development, three of them decided to learn programming languages. One started with C programming language and was followed by C++(one of the most difficult programming languages to begin with), java, assembly language, and more as the standard protocol of learning to code.

However, the second one of them heard, that learning Python can make him swing in right away! Learning Python could make him a better programmer, and faster.

Impressed by the easy-to-code, beginner-friendly nature of Python programming language, the second friend quickly did wonders in coding with Python, HTML, CSS, etc., and meanwhile excelled in all the contemporary skills that were mandatory to get into an advanced technology field.

Now, the third friend found that both his friends treaded through entirely different paths and met different career paths. He was prompted to explore a better strategy and first started digging the pathway to better programming by tracking the most difficult programming languages that he should probably avoid at the beginning.

In his quest to find the most hard-to-code programming languages, the third friend discovered that one should never opt for these programming languages at the beginning.

Malbolge

One of the most difficult programming languages. Don’t believe me? Have a look at the below code!

I mean, I don’t understand anything in this. Not that I have seriously tried putting my head into learning this language. But it seems to be one of the most difficult programming languages for me. It is termed an Obscure programming language. It represents a series of hidden meanings and purposes behind the lines of code. Ben Olmstead introduced this public domain esolang in 1998. It is named after the eighth circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

Do you know what makes Malebolge nearly impossible to use? Malebolge has a self-altering code. This esoteric language’s best job is to make writing programs as difficult as possible.
If you wish to detail this language more accurately, it literally stands for “evil ditches”!

Sadly, it has merely seen any updates since its initial release in 1998. According to the author’s website, more than 16,000 people have expressed interest in Malbolge. However, there seem to be hardly a dozen meaningful programs ever written in Malbolge.
The software industry ignores it entirely, and that’s not likely to ever change.

2. Whitespace

Whitespace is another Obscure programming language. Edwin Brady and Chris Morris developed this language. And the date of its introduction makes perfect sense to this language: April 1st, 2003! Whitespace is a programming language formulated totally of two characters- space and tab. The number of spaces you type sequentially equals a value.

Oh yes, Whitespace is typically a language that stands in opposition to any programming language on this planet! Why? Since its interpreter ignores any non-whitespace characters. No kidding! Now, do not jump in and start suggesting “then it might be an invisible code!” The above blue and red beauty mark its visibility of course!

Whitespace is an imperative stack-based language. In its syntax, commands comprise sequences of spaces, tab stops and linefeeds. All other characters are ignored and thus can be used for comments. 

3. Intercal

The Compiler Language with no Pronounceable Acronym is an Intercal! Intercal is a programming language invented in the early 1970s by Princeton University students Don Woods and James Lyon. Another esoteric programming language, Intercal is also an equally hard-to-code programming language.

Surprisingly, Intercal, despite being plagued with these uncommon features, has survived for twenty years and is indeed flourishing. C-Intercal is the recent version of Intercal that has spread it far beyond its original domain. This new member has spread a malign influence across the Internet.

By the way, it has turned out to be the only computer language that has ever succeeded in acquiring acceptance owing to its elegance & comprehensibility.

For your information, you can also get into some good jobs after mastering Intercal. Most importantly, Intercal will also help you sell hardware.

4. Cow

Copy-on-write (COW) is, once again, an esoteric programming language that is one of the most difficult programming languages. Sometimes we refer to it as implicit sharing or shadowing programming language. Why?
Let me explain:

COW is a resource-management technique employed in computer programming to efficiently implement a “duplicate” or “copy” operation on modifiable resources.

You might already know that if a resource is duplicated but not modified, it is not required to create a new resource. The copy and the original can share the resources. However, modifications must still use up a copy. Hence, the copy operation gets delayed until the first write.

So, we can reduce the resource consumption drastically while adding a slight overhead to resource-modifying operations.
Using the page table, we can efficiently implement COW by marking certain pages of memory as read-only and keeping a count of the number of references to the page.

Copy-on-write finds its use in sharing the virtual memory of operating system processes and fork system call.

5. Brainfuck

Augmenting the list of esoteric programming languages, Brainfuck is one of the most difficult programming languages created in 1993 by Urban Müller. His goal was to build the smallest possible compiler. It was built for the amigo 2.0 operating system. Do you know this language consists of only eight simple commands, a data pointer and an instruction pointer? We should really be happy with its extreme minimalism.

Surprisingly, Brainfuck is not intended for practical use! Then? It is here to challenge and amuse programmers. Brainfuck requires one to break commands into microscopic steps. Interesting? I am sure your interest will run a mile by seeing the below code! Try your brains and accept this Brainfuck challenge!

How about you learn it with the help of a video? Try here:

6. Prolog

Here is the next-in-the-list of hard programming languages to give food for your thoughts. Prolog is a logic programming language. It is associated with artificial intelligence and computational linguistics.

Prolog language is very expressive, allowing recursive rules to represent reachability in parse trees and the operation of negation-as-failure to check the absence of conditions.

Do you know that IBM Watson uses Prolog? It doesn’t get much “hype” and “buzz” these days, but the fact is, it is totally in use. Prolog requires a completely different mindset compared to other programming languages. Learning the basics of Prolog is very worthwhile, irrespective of whether you’ll ever use it in the real world. Also, it is intriguing to learn the basic ideas underlying unification. Meanwhile, we can also understand how a trivial and inefficient implementation might be handled.

Using Prolog you can easily build databases with not much programming effort. Also, pattern matching is easy with Prolog. Search is recursion based.
And augmenting its features, it has built-in list handling, making it easier to play with any algorithm involving lists

7. LISP

Lisp is a family of functional programming languages. It has a long history and a distinctive, fully parenthesized prefix notation. Introduced by John McCarthy in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language, still in common use. Only Fortran is older by one year.

The overall style of the language is organized primarily around expressions and functions rather than statements and subroutines. You should know that every Lisp expression returns some value and every Lisp procedure is syntactically a function; when called, it returns some data object as its value.

Lisp, originally styled LISP, stands for list processing. Lisp is a family of functional programming languages. It has a long history and a distinctive, fully parenthesized prefix notation. Introduced by John McCarthy in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language, still in common use. Only Fortran is older by one year. As one of the earliest programming languages, Lisp pioneered many ideas in computer science, including tree data structures, automatic storage management, dynamic typing, and the self-hosting compiler.

The overall style of the language is organized primarily around expressions and functions rather than statements and subroutines. You should know that every Lisp expression returns some value and every Lisp procedure is syntactically a function; when called, it returns some data object as its value.

Common Lisp, Arc, AutoLisp, and BBN Lisp are a few of the common Lisp dialects.

8. Haskell

Haskel first appeared in 1990, some 32 years ago. Haskel is a general-purpose, statically-typed, purely functional programming language. Initially designed for teaching, research and industrial applications, Haskell has pioneered a number of programming language features, such as type classes, which enable type-safe operator overloading. An implementation for which Haskel is vividly known is the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC). It is named after logician Haskell Curry.

The last formal specification of the language was made in July 2010, while the development of GHC continues to expand Haskell via language extensions.

most difficult programming languages

Haskell is still implemented in academia and industry. As of May 2021, Haskell was the 28th most popular programming language by Google searches for tutorials. However, it just made up less than 1% of active users on the GitHub source code repository.

Let’s wrap it up!

So, what do you think is the most difficult programming language of all? Are you interested in learning any of these languages? Let us know by commenting in the below section.

To know more about the programming languages and to make your grandest entry into the tech world, stay abreast with GUVI Blogs.

Contact Form

By clicking 'Submit' you Agree to Guvi Terms & Conditions.

Our Learners Work at

Our Popular Course

Share this post

Author Bio

Archana
Archana
A traveler, and explorer, Archana is an active writer at GUVI. You can usually find her with a book/kindle binge-reading (with an affinity to the mystery/humor).

Our Live Classes

Learn Javascript, HTML, CSS, Java, Data Structure, MongoDB & more
Learn Python, Machine Learning, NLP, Tableau, PowerBI & more
Learn Selenium, Python, Java, Jenkins, Jmeter, API Testing & more
Learn Networking, Security Testing, IAM, Access Management & more

Hey wait, Don’t miss New Updates from GUVI!

Get Your Course Now

Related Articles