When comparing MS PowerShell vs Xtend, the Slant community recommends MS PowerShell for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” MS PowerShell is ranked 62nd while Xtend is ranked 65th. The most important reason people chose MS PowerShell is:
The help system is designed to evolve over time; running `update-help` downloads the latest content. When searching for help on items, you can simply type `help commandname` to get information about a command. If you're not sure what you're looking for, but have a rough idea, you can search on partial command names, or even specify specific verbs to get a list of commands potentially of interest; e.g. `help -verb write`. The information in help gives a good overview of the commands you're looking at, along with code examples, so you can see real-world usage without resorting to the web.
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Pro Helpful Help
The help system is designed to evolve over time; running
update-help downloads the latest content.
When searching for help on items, you can simply type
help commandname to get information about a command.
If you're not sure what you're looking for, but have a rough idea, you can search on partial command names, or even specify specific verbs to get a list of commands potentially of interest; e.g.
help -verb write.
The information in help gives a good overview of the commands you're looking at, along with code examples, so you can see real-world usage without resorting to the web.
When calling a method with multiple parameters, rather than passing one variable per parameter you're able to "splat" one variable to the method, with the parameters taking their values from its properties.
Commands can be chained via the pipeline, allowing output from one to be cleanly fed as input to the next.
Pro Chocolatey Package
PowerShell is installable through Chocolatey.
The language can wrap and interact with code written in other language's, making it highly extensible.
Pro Multi-Platform (ish)
Though Windows Powershell only works on Windows, the open source implementation Pash (http://pash.sourceforge.net/) allows the same language to be run on other OSes.
Pro Ruby-like syntactic conveniences
Lambdas are written like Smalltalk's blocks. If it's the last argument, it can go after the parentheses like Ruby's blocks. Parentheses on method calls are optional.
Pro Type inference
It uses Java's static type system, but you don't have to declare the type of everything all the time, since the Xtend compiler can usually figure it out. This also dramatically cuts down on Java's infamous verbosity.
Pro Code runs just as fast as Java
Because Xtend relies heavily on JDK and Android classes, it runs just as fast as native Java code.
Pro Easy to switch back to Java
Xtend is a low-risk option. Because it compiles to human-readable Java, if you decide you don't like it for your project, you can just switch back to Java without losing your work.
Pro Extend even library classes with new methods
This is where it gets its name. You can open classes and add new methods, kind of like Ruby. (Of course this has to be compiled to Java, so really it lives in a kind of helper class.)
Uses functional features ,which are very concise and idiomatic. Plus it has annotations, which cuts down on the Java boilerplate.
Pro Better defaults than Java
Methods are public if you don't specify, and fields are private. Locals declared with
val in Xtend are
final in Java. This dramatically cuts down on Java's infamous verbosity.
Con Very verbose
The commands themselves, as well as the output and error messages, are VERY verbose
Con Difficult to configure in Android Studio
Con Slower compilation
Unlike most JVM languages, Xtend compiles to Java rather than directly to JVM bytecode. So you have to compile everything four times for Android: from Xtend to Java, from Java to JVM bytecode (.class files), from .class to .dex bytecode, and then AOT compilation from .dex to native ARM upon installation. This can really slow down development and testing vs a more interactive language like Clojure.