When comparing Assembly vs Ceylon, the Slant community recommends Ceylon for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Ceylon is ranked 33rd while Assembly is ranked 38th. The most important reason people chose Ceylon is:
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it. The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc. Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Low Level - it's how the computer works
One of the best ways to learn how a computer actually works is to work your way up from lower level abstractions. Assembly, being only a level above machine code, is low enough level to make it clear how the computer is actually performing a computation, including code flow and loops, but high enough level to not be excessively tedious for the type of small projects that a student would do at the beginning of their first programming class. Use of an assembler with macros can stretch this even a bit further.
Pro Useful for embedded systems
A curriculum that involves an embedded component, such as an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi, can encourage students by allowing them to immediately connect their work with 'real systems'. Assembly is the ideal language for getting started with and understanding these devices, and since Assembly can be called from C, the code will still be useful if students move on to C later in the program.
Pro Naturally creates fast and small programs
Because of its natural syntax and low-level nature, assembly language programs are typically really small and fast.
Unlike other programming languages, in assembly language it is really hard to create a slow and over-bloated program.
Pro Uniform syntax
Assembly language syntax is relatively uniform, and so there's less room for a student to get confused by obscure characters, or miss some meaning implied by structure, such as with scoping rules, or call-by-name/value/reference semantics. While there may be a lot of mnemonics to look up, most work involves only a very small subset of them.
Pro Strong static typing, null safe and flexible, almost dynamic type system
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it.
The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc.
Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
It brings type safety to JS, allowing to define interfaces to existing JS APIs, yet using the
dynamic keyword for flexible calls in the JS ecosystem.
Pro Excellent IDE support
Ceylon has reified generics, so it doesn't loose the type of collections at runtime. This makes autocompletion, debugging, etc. first-class. The Eclipse plugin makes it a full-fledged Ceylon IDE, and an IntelliJ IDEA plugin is in the works.
Pro Great tutorial
Gavin King, main author of the language, has a great, clear technical writing style, making understandable difficult concepts like variance or sound type system.
Pro Try it out in the browser
It has a Web IDE: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/ with impressive demos: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/?gist=bd41b47f325b6d32514a so you can try it without installing anything, and see the JS generation / interop in action.
Pro Excellent documentation
The language specification is very complete and up to date; also, the language module is very well documented.
Pro Easy to learn even if you don't have prior programming experience
Ceylon is indeed fairly easy and readable. Of course those ones who know OOP and a bit of functional programming concepts will feel almost at home right from the start.
Pro Generate HTML
HTML generation is supported right in the SDK.
Pro Same code in backend and frontend
Con Difficult learning curve
Starting off as a beginner with assembly language could prove very daunting. I suggest learning a high level language first (e.g. C) to get a good grasp of programming - especially dealing with bits, bytes, numbers, accessing memory with pointers (which is why I suggest C).
Then once that person is comfortable writing C (or whatever high level language) programs, they would find moving to assembler a little less of a "What the hell?!!!" experience.
Con Rarely a requirement or used in professional employment
Con Not very portable
The instruction set may change depending on what CPU architecture is being used. Also, there will be some differences in implementations due to different assemblers being used, such as with changes in OS.
Con Hyperspecific syntax isn't a good first step to learning other modern languages
Con Lack of physical or electronic books
We should hope Red Hat or anyone interested would take the time and write one. That would strengthen the maturity of the language, but Ceylon is rapidly developing which can make the author's efforts futile because his or hers work will become obsolete soon.
The second hindrance is, of course, popularity of the language which can't give much to the pockets of the author (however, Dart's unpopularity at start didn't prevent it to have a lot of printed material, but that's Google's child, we know).
Con Currently has large runtime
Ceylon 1.2 needs a language runtime of 1.55 MiB, and the Collection library adds another 370 KiB. That's a lot for the Web...
Now, this has to be put in perspective: if you use Ceylon to make a web application, these files will be loaded once, then cached by the browser (that's not casual browsing).
Moreover, most servers compress such resource, and the numbers become respectively 234 KiB and 54 KiB, which is more reasonable...