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Esoteric Programming Language

So called esoteric programming languages (esolangs) are highly experimental and fun programming languages that employ bizarre and/or unconventional ideas. Popular languages of this kind include Brainfuck, Chef or Omgrofl.

There is a great wiki for esolangs, the Esolang Wiki (https://esolangs.org). If you want to behold esolangs in all their beauty, see https://esolangs.org/wiki/Hello_world_program_in_esoteric_languages_(nonalphabetic_and_A-M). The Wiki is published under CC0!

Many esolangers seem to be code golfers, i.e. people who do various programming challenges while aiming for the shortest code which often requires a wise choice of language... or perhaps making a completely new language just for the job :) Codegolf stack exchange is therefore one place to see many esolangs in action.

Some notable ideas employed by esolangs are:

Esolangs are great because:

A famous one-man organization related to esolangs is Cat's Eye run by Chris Pressey, currently reachable at https://catseye.tc.


INTERCAL, made in 1972 by Donald Woods and James Lyon, is considered the first esolang in history: its goal was specifically intended to be different from traditional languages and so for example a level of politeness was introduced -- if there weren't enough PLEASE labels in the source code, the compiler wouldn't compile the program.

In 1993 Brainfuck, probably the most famous esolang, was created.

In 2005 esolang wiki was started.


Specific Languages

The following is a list of some notable esoteric languages.

{ There used to be an esolang webring, now only accessible through archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20110728084807/http://hub.webring.org/hub/esolang. You can find nice links there. ~drummyfish }

See Also

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