January 9, 2014

Infographic of the week

Via @keith_ng, this masterpiece showing that more searches for help lead to more language. Or something.


It’s not, sadly, unusual to see numbers being used just for ordering, but in this case the numbers don’t even agree with the vertical ordering.  And several of them aren’t, actually, languages. And the headline is just bogus.

This version, by Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks), at least is accurate and readable.


but it’s hard to tell how much of Java’s dominance is due to it being popular versus being confusing.

Adam Bard has data on the most popular languages on the huge open-source software repository GitHub. This isn’t quite the right denominator, since Stack Overflow users aren’t quite the same population as GitHub users, but it’s something.  Assigning iOS, Android, and Rails, to Objective-C, Java, and Ruby respectively, and scaling by GitHub popularity, we find that C# has the most StackOverflow queries per GitHub commit; Objective-C and Java have about two-thirds as many.  In the end, though, this data isn’t going to tell you much about either high-demand programming skills or the relative friendliness of different programming languages.




Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »


  • avatar
    megan pledger

    Or that java and PHP (and python and JS) are cross-platform which means there is a wider pool of people able to program in it. Whereas c# and .net are both windows specific (I think, it’s a while since I’ve been doing this stuff).

    The other thing is that people can write their own packages in java – even amateurs – which means a lot of head scratching about what other people have done.

    And then there is the minecraft phenomenom – an 11year old I know got in to java because he wanted to write a mod for minecraft.

    4 years ago

  • avatar
    megan pledger

    Wow, that didn’t do what I expected – it was even the wrong link
    This is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XQl_SOWx4E&list=UUMrQ1IZ8B_FNtq-y3f-88hQ

    4 years ago

  • avatar
    Michael Hartnoll

    As mentioned, several of these categories are not languages, they are code frameworks created to work on top some underlying language. In the case of android, the underlying language is java, and it is reasonable to expect that a good chunk of the problems searched for in the android category will really just be problems that are related to java and are not specific to android itself.

    4 years ago