The NSA Is Funding a Project to Roll All Programming Languages Into One

Why bother having to learn HTML5, JavaScript, PHP, CSS and XML, when you could just learn one? Well, that's exactly what an NSA-funded project at Carnegie Mellon University seeks to achieve.

The "polyglot" programming language is called Wyvern—the name comes from a a mythical dragon-like reature with two legs instead of four—and is designed to help unify the way apps and websites are created. The researchers explain:

"Web applications today are written as a poorly-coordinated mishmash of artifacts written in different languages, file formats, and technologies. For example, a web application may consist of JavaScript code on the client, HTML for structure, CSS for presentation, XML for AJAX-style communication, and a mixture of Java, plain text configuration files, and database software on the server. This diversity increases the cost of developers learning these technologies. It also means that ensuring system-wide safety and security properties in this setting is difficult."

It's that final point that, presumably, has the NSA interested. While the agency is now most famous for its spying, it has a remit to help keep American digital systems secure. But regardless of what the technology may or may not end up being used for, it still seems pretty smart.

The researchers write, for instance, that the system can automatically sense what you're working on by looking at the data you're working with. Database? You're probably using SQL! It it, obviously, still very much a prototype—but it's open source, so you can take a peek at your unified digital future over at GitHub. [Wyvern via Motherboard]

Image by Michael Himbeault under Creative Commons license