The developer has created a programming language that... still does not exist

The developer has created a programming language that... still does not exist

Once Upon a time there was a programming language called MOVA. This technology was created by Alan Holden, a developer from California. The only problem is that he gave this language only a name and nothing else. There is no documentation, implementation, or standard libraries. Nothing. So the language never really existed.

What’s all this for?

The purpose of the language was to avoid spam of candidates’applications – Holden claims that during the internet boom of the 1990s. the technical people who recruited for the positions were inundated with various applications and could not get their hands on everything. So one of the programmers came up with the idea to include a fictitious programming language in the requirements of job offers, which would deter some and expose the dishonest. That’s how Mova came into being.

Therefore, Holden did not want to attribute too much history to this language, because it was supposed to not exist at all. Too much detail about her would make the whole operation completely off target.

How to confuse recruiters

The idea for the language came about while Holden and his colleagues were trying to figure out a way to stop CV spam and incessant calls from recruiters. It was a time when the internet boom was really big, and the bubble hadn’t burst yet, so it was kind of a euphoric time.

The programmer mentions that there were really many ways. One of them was to conduct a test involving the association of words. There were such terms as FTP, HTML and IPO, and Holden and his co-workers were waiting to see what associations they’d come back with.

Later, one of Holden’s co-workers suggested creating a fake programming language that could be included in job descriptions as one of the main requirements. He later added that invented the name Multiple object Versionless architecture, or Mova.

The name itself meant that the language was intended to provide a way to present objects that would mutate themselves from one data type to another, without any versioning.

After all, in order for the joke to become a reality, a graphic designer from a now-defunct company called PeopleLink, in which Holden worked, created an artificial cover O’reilly’s MOVA learning manual. Here’s what she looked like.:

By the way, such language was a good way to catch in the act candidates who are dishonest or like to lie during recruitment. Holden even mentions that there were a few who said that they used to write something in Mova or study it a little.


Creating a fake programming language to screen candidates and recruiters is a rather flamboyant idea. This is probably why many developers recently joked that MOVA had a huge impact on their perception of software development and that they had a great time at the conference Movacone. Holden also jokingly expressed the hope that he would see them all on MOVAcon 2021.

Maybe we’ll be there, too.

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