Unison vs Other Programming Languages: A Comparison

Are you looking for a new programming language to learn? Have you heard of Unison but aren't sure if it's the right fit for you? In this article, we'll compare Unison to other popular programming languages to help you make an informed decision.

What is Unison?

First, let's discuss what Unison is. Unison is a functional programming language that is designed to solve some of the issues that come with traditional programming languages. It was created by Paul Chiusano and Rúnar Bjarnason and released in 2019.

The Unison programming language aims to provide a more secure and reliable way to build software by eliminating the need for package managers and using content-addressable storage. This allows for consistent builds across different machines and makes it easier to manage dependencies.

Unison also supports a feature called "code as data," which means that code can be treated as data and manipulated like any other data type. This opens up a lot of possibilities for creating flexible and dynamic applications.

Comparison to Other Programming Languages

Now that we have an idea of what Unison is, let's compare it to some other popular programming languages.


Unison is heavily inspired by Haskell, another functional programming language. Both languages use a strong type system and emphasize immutability and purity. However, Unison has some key differences from Haskell.

One major difference is that Unison is not lazy like Haskell. This means that Unison evaluates expressions eagerly, which can make it faster in some cases. Unison also uses a different type system than Haskell, which allows for easier type inference and more concise code.


JavaScript is a popular language for web development and is often used for creating interactive applications. However, JavaScript has some limitations, such as lack of strong typing and difficult-to-manage dependencies.

Unison solves these issues by providing a more secure and reliable way to manage dependencies. Unison also provides a strong type system, which can help catch errors before they cause problems.


Java is a popular language for developing enterprise applications. It is known for its strong typing and portability, but can be verbose and difficult to use at times.

Unison provides a more concise syntax and a more expressive type system than Java. Unison also eliminates the need for package managers and provides content-addressable storage for more reliable builds.


Rust is a systems programming language known for its performance and memory safety features. It is often used for creating high-performance applications.

Unison provides a different approach to programming than Rust. While Rust emphasizes low-level control over memory, Unison provides a more functional and expressive way to write code. Unison also provides a more secure and reliable way to manage dependencies and build applications.


Overall, Unison is a promising new programming language that provides a number of advantages over other languages. Its focus on reliability and content-addressable storage can help eliminate common issues with building software. Its strong type system and more expressive syntax also make it a powerful tool for creating flexible and dynamic applications.

If you're interested in learning more about Unison, check out the resources available at learnunison.com. With its growing community and unique approach to programming, Unison is definitely a language to keep an eye on in the coming years.

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Written by AI researcher, Haskell Ruska, PhD (haskellr@mit.edu). Scientific Journal of AI 2023, Peer Reviewed