Programming Languages: The Internet's Current Opinion  

  total |sucks . . . . . . . debatable . . . . . . . rules| 
   hits +-------------------------------------------------+ 
   3521 |                                                 |
        |                               C                 |
        |                          J     L P              |
        |                                          F      |
    928 |                                  P              |
        |                               PJR               |
        |                               M                 |
        |                                                 |
    244 |                         B          P   F        |
        |                                   C T           |
        |                  O                              |
        |                                                 |
     64 |                              A      S     P     |
        +-------------------------------------------------+ 


      A = AppleScript    B = Basic          C = C and C++     
      C = COBOL          F = forth          F = fortran       
      J = Java           J = JavaScript     L = lisp          
      M = Maple          O = Objective C    P = Pascal        
      P = Perl           P = PHP            P = PostScript    
      P = Python         R = Ruby           S = Smalltalk     
      T = Tcl           

Updated Mon Dec 22 14:12:21 2014 GMT. (s11)

The numbers come from AltaVista® queries. For example, a search for +"JavaScript sucks" will reveal that there are 251 web pages containing the text 'JavaScript sucks'1. That number, along with the results of queries for 'JavaScript rocks' and 'JavaScript rules', is used to plot the position of the symbol 'J' on the chart. (As you can see, this paragraph rates JavaScript ambiguously — and that reflects rather accurately how I feel about JavaScript :-) The chart is updated daily2.

Languages that appear higher on the chart (like C and C++) appear on a greater total number of web pages. Languages that appear closer to the right side of the chart (like PostScript) have a greater 'rules/sucks' ratio — that is, they appear more often with 'rules' than with 'sucks'. However, you should keep in mind that languages near the bottom of the chart are not mentioned on many web pages, so their horizontal position isn't as accurate an indicator of their true karma.

You might notice that there aren't many popular languages that suck — that is, there are not many languages near the upper-left corner of the chart. This confirms the theory that really sucky languages never become widespread enough to be mentioned on lots of web pages.

On the other hand, there are plenty of unpopular languages that rule (these appear in the bottom-right portion of the chart). In most cases, these are specialized languages — they do some limited job really well, but haven't become popular because they are limited to specific types of tasks. In rare cases, these are new languages that will someday rule the world but currently only rule their early adopters.

Regarding the data collection: As already mentioned, these data points come from search engine results. Some languages, such as Python, require the use of stop words (such as 'monty') to prevent unrealistic results from being plotted. The languages C and C++ both appear on the chart as 'C' because their names make it impossible to search for one without finding the other. Other languages are missing simply because I have overlooked them or do not consider them important. Suggestions are welcome, but will not always be accepted. In particular, I consider particular brands of a language to be insignificant except in cases (like Maple and AppleScript) where the brand is the language. I also don't care much about specialized languages (PHP is an example, but it rules so much I couldn't restrain myself :-)

NOTE: The statistics for Basic actually consist almost entirely of references to Visual Basic. Since there are also a couple other Basics, I decided to lump them all together and call it just "Basic".

NOTE: Prolog, REXX and Haskell are not included because the word rules has a special meaning in those languages (as a plural noun), making the 'rules' counts meaningless.

The vertical scale, which shows the number of hits, is logarithmic. Over the lifetime of this web page (which went live in 2000) the top of this scale has increased from 13359 to its present value. (the old URL was http://home.earthlink.net/~mrob/pub/lang_srom.html )

This page is inspired by the awesome Operating System Sucks-Rules-O-Meter which you are encouraged to visit if you like this sort of thing. I also have a certain fondness for now-defunct Tool of Objective Truth formerly featured at ZDNet UK.

If you are running Linux (Linux rules) and know Perl (Perl rules even more than PostScript) you might be interested in the source code for the program that generates this page. Note in particular how it recomputes parts of the explanatory text to match the chart. The output it generates is in RHTF (RILYBOT hypertext format), part of my automated web authoring system.

 

Raw data from AltaVista queries:

          Language   Sucks   Rules or Rocks           Language   Sucks   Rules or Rocks
AppleScript 24 43 Objective C 71 43
Basic 107 123 Pascal 69 213
C and C++ 951 1815 Perl 212 410
COBOL 52 154 PHP 492 1239
forth 153 1119 PostScript 6 64
fortran 38 212 Python 232 599
Java 882 1129 Ruby 187 440
JavaScript 251 502 Smalltalk 16 56
lisp 592 1219 Tcl 37 126
Maple 165 307

 


Footnotes

1 : NOTE: On the first results page, the number of results might be in the millions. This number is a crude estimate and is often completely wrong. But if you proceed to go through the results page by page, the number of results will eventually be computed 'for real'. The lang_srom script gets a more accurate count in a single query by requesting the 1000th results page. This query coerces AltaVista to figure out how many matches there arctually are.

2 : Although the chart is updated daily, most of the queries are performed less often and cached to reduce impact on the search engine.


The Programming Languages Internet Opinion Chart is made possible by


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AltaVista® is a registered trademark of AltaVista® Company, and the AltaVista® Logo is a trademark of AltaVista® Company. This site is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with AltaVista® Company. AppleScript® is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. JavaTM and JavaScript® are registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems. Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Maple® is a registered trademark of Waterloo Maple, Inc. PostScript® is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc. Visual Basic® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. ZDNet is a trademark of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company.


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This page was last updated on 2014 Dec 22. s.11