Heavenly and Hellish Programming Languages

By Manny Nepomuceno


What language do angelic programmers use?

Angels of Jean use Fortescue, a programming language developed by a team of Jean's best Elohite and Seraph programmers. Fully object-oriented, easily extensible, dynamic and with syntax approximating Angeltongue, Fortescue is what every human programming language aspires to be. To develop Fortescue, Jean even got Blandine's permission to consult with a number of IT luminaries in their dreamscapes about important features and issues that the development team would have to consider.

A Fortescue program compiles into a small package which is always platform-specific -- although any Fortescue program will run on one of Jean's computers, regardless of its target platform! When it is absolutely necessary to port a package onto another platform, a special program named Morph is used. Morph decompiles the program and recompiles it for use on the new platform. The resulting package, whether compiled by Fortescue or recompiled by Morph, always runs at maximum efficiency -- even bad or excessively lengthy algorithms are shortened by the compilation process. Fortescue compilers exist for every platform and every OS ever developed (even obscure and little-known ones), and a few more are under development for OSs and platforms that are still to come. A sizable team of relievers and Heaven-bound angels ensure that Fortescue remains constantly up-to-date and available to everyone through download on JeanNet.

A visual interface, developed by a team of Jean's Mercurians, is being distributed along with the Fortescue Development Kit. Dubbed Visual Fortescue, the new interface makes programming much easier...although old-timers claim that they prefer the old command-line interface. Lab tests show that code generated by Visual Fortescue is comparable in size and data footprint to that generated by regular Fortescue -- something that Jean was adamant about when the Mercurians pitched the idea to him.

Under top-priority development in the Halls of Progress are object libraries which will allow the addition of features approximating angelic resonances and Songs to programs written in Fortescue. The first of these libraries is currently under beta testing as a critical component in TAINT_SEARCH.EXE, one of Jean's projects and an electronic artifact. Even Jean's Elohim are experiencing difficulty working out the complex algorithms involved in this project, however, so it is highly unlikely that these libraries will be finished anytime soon.

Because Jean makes it so widely available, it is not dissonant for angels of Lightning to allow a human to get a copy of a program written in Fortescue, or even a copy of the Fortescue Development Kit. Most living humans don't understand angelic anyway, and the syntax absolutely requires that the programmer think in Angeltongue. It is for this reason that demons gain dissonance for programming in Fortescue! It's rumored that a copy of the FDK is sitting in a server somewhere in Virginia, being puzzled over by human programmers unable to make use of it.

What language do demonic programmers use?

To be honest, most demonic programmers use C, C++, or even Java. Not a few have taken up other programming languages, and are proficient in these. Some of these demons even have copies of the Fortescue Development Kit sitting in their hard drives.

When he first heard of the development of Fortescue, Vapula instructed his own Servitors to begin work on a programming language. That language, XJ49-L, is the result of many years of hard work, and not a few unsubtle thefts from other programming languages. With a syntax approximating Helltongue, XJ49-L is the language you use if you want to get ahead in Vapula's ranks. Every XJ49-L programmer has his own style -- and his own syntax. What appears to be a comment to one programmer could actually be an important part of the program's code. It's not unknown for Balseraphs to use their resonances on the program, creating code where none existed before, but which is impossibly difficult to debug.

XJ49-L is procedurally oriented, which makes it a fine language to use when one wants to create spaghetti code. As a matter of fact, in addition to the standard "goto" function, XJ49-L supports the "go", "gothere", "gottherethenreturn", and "gothereandthere" functions. The smart demonic programmer finds some way to make use of all of these in his code, since Vapula himself developed some of them (no one's entirely sure which ones). Variables are passed to functions by either or both value and address, depending on which interpreter is being used (did we mention that XJ49-L is an interpreted language?) Interpreters exist for all known OSs and platforms, but getting access to them is another matter entirely. Another of XJ49-L's unique features is the ability to access memory directly, whether or not that memory would normally be available to the process running the program, which means that a program written in XJ49-L can crash a system while blaming it on another program.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Vapula's greatest achievement is written entirely in this language. Miranda, Vapula's electronic daughter, currently exists independent of her interpreter program -- something that is a technical impossibility, but then again, this is Vapula we're talking about. The fact that Miranda is a XJ49-L program means that she is truly unique and cannot be duplicated -- more than one Balseraph worked on her code!

Angels who learn XJ49-L gain a note of dissonance, and another each time they attempt to program in the language. Even attempting to debug code written in XJ49-L gains angels dissonance. Demons of Technology are all tasked with learning XJ49-L, something which binds them to Vapula and Hell far more than they're comfortable with.


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