# Which language would Knuth use to (re-)write TeX today? [closed]

[ yes, this is "primarily opinion based;" VTC if you must ]

In Literate Programming Knuth wrote:

... I chose PASCAL as the programming language ... ; it is not my favorite language for system programming, but it has become a “second language” for so many programmers that it provides an exceptionally effective medium of communication. ...

If DEK were writing (or re-writing) TeX today, what language would he choose? (It might be CWEB, see his FAQ.)

It seems the C might have the same reach that PASCAL once did; although C++ is probably "better" than C in so many ways for a program like TeX (but C might be a "second language" for most C++ programmers). ECMAScript is also widely available and well known, although it's not really intended for a program like TeX. With C#/.NET now more-or-less cross-platform, maybe that's everybody's "second favorite language"? Of course, Java would be the "no Microsoft!" alternative to C#.

What language today might fulfill the same goals for TeX as PASCAL did in the early 80s? This is (mostly) a TeX question because of some of its unique goals; without such "requirements," TeX might still be in SAIL or would be written in PL/1.

## closed as primarily opinion-based by Werner, Alan Munn, egreg, Mico, Stefan PinnowFeb 23 '17 at 21:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

• @ChristianHupfer FORTRAN? Be still my heart! – Steven B. Segletes Feb 23 '17 at 18:35
• Yes, opinion-based. The only person who can answer this question is professor Knuth himself. And he might need a few minutes to think about it as well. – Johannes_B Feb 23 '17 at 18:36
• @StevenB.Segletes: Ok, let's use assembly language.... – user31729 Feb 23 '17 at 18:37
• Knuth was not interested in the language, he was interested in the algorithms. Any language would do... `:)` – Paulo Cereda Feb 23 '17 at 18:48
• Doesn't this question beg a prior question? Why think that Knuth would write TeX today? – cfr Feb 24 '17 at 1:25