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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ruby is now more popular than C++

啊?! by bc cf from flickr (CC-ND)

There are many ways to measure popularity, and I'll take one proposed by creator of C++ Bjarne Stroustrup. According to him there are only two kinds of languages - those that nobody uses and those that everybody bitches about - so counting google results for "<language> sucks" is a perfectly good way of measuring popularity.

I did an identical experiment exactly 4 years ago, so it's interesting to see what changed since then.
  • D 147000 - mostly bogus matches for "3D sucks" etc.
  • Java 56300
  • C 48900 - possibly also many bogus matches
  • PHP 34500
  • Ruby 25900
  • Ruby on Rails 18100 - included for comparison only
  • Scheme 14900 - my blog is #1, also many bogus matches
  • C++ 14000
  • Visual Basic 11600
  • Python 8930 
  • Perl 5450
  • Lisp 3510
  • C# 3310
  • Ada 1240
  • OCaml 1070
  • SML 784
  • Erlang 750
  • Cobol 641
  • Fortran 476
  • Haskell 416
  • Smalltalk 176
  • Prolog 161
Some things just don't change. Ignoring queries with too many false positives, the list is dominated by Java and PHP, just as four years ago - with Java lead now being a lot stronger. Most niche languages like OCaml, Smalltalk, and Prolog are still niche languages - although many get a lot of bitching these days (like OCaml's 17x increase).

On the other hand some things changed. Perl used to be very high in the sucking charts - at about 15x as many sucks as Ruby and Python, but isn't anywhere close to the top now, losing almost half of the sucks in that time, as old ones die in link rot, and new ones stop being generated.

The second biggest success story is Python, which sucks 12x as much now, finally overtaking Perl.

But the biggest success is a spectacular explosion of popularity of Ruby. My first list was released only half a year after Rails 1.0, when many people were intrigued by Ruby, but few were actually using it. In those four years Ruby suckiness levels exploded 43x - not even counting Rails bitching, a lot of which is as much about Ruby as about Rails themselves.

Ruby is now a lot more popular than C++ - according to the very metric endorsed by C++ creator. What alternative explanation is there? That C++ is used a lot, it just happens to suck less? Come on.

People complaining about scientific validity of this post are sent here.


Juho Vepsäläinen said...

Cool comparison.

JavaScript scores between Perl and Python with 5740 points. Lua got just 378! I guess that's bit of a surprise.

Hasanat Kazmi said...

Languages which are used more are discussed more: more written on forums and blogs, more people praise them and more complain.
The criterion based on Google search result isn't a good one.... You should have divided the approx number of users of each language (I don't know if you can find such information anywhere)with the result to bring the comparison to scale.

Thom Blake said...

Left js out of the list? But it's the most widely used programming language in the world!

taw said...

Thom Blake: I forget about it at first, but Juho Vepsäläinen provided js's answer in comments - it doesn't seem that popular according to suck-metric.