Programming Languages: The Internet's Current Opinion
total |sucks . . . . . . . debatable . . . . . . . rules|
2523 | |
| L C |
| J P |
| F |
665 | J P |
| MPR |
| P F |
175 | B C |
| T |
| O |
| A S P |
A = AppleScript B = Basic C = C and C++
C = COBOL F = forth F = fortran
M = Maple O = Objective C P = Pascal
P = Perl P = PHP P = PostScript
P = Python R = Ruby S = Smalltalk
T = Tcl
Updated Sat Jun 15 17:27:54 2013 GMT. (s13)
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 23 37 Objective C 54 36
Basic 90 106 Pascal 71 179
C and C++ 610 1418 Perl 206 352
COBOL 46 147 PHP 291 1027
forth 152 826 PostScript 4 64
fortran 25 200 Python 202 565
Java 654 807 Ruby 181 322
lisp 539 1008 Tcl 23 91
Maple 162 263
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.
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