O’Reilly CodeZoo Language Requests  

By Ryan Tomayko under Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, Then you win. on 04. August 2005

This chart showing the number of requests for different languages on O’Reilly’s Code Zoo is interesting:

CodeZoo language breakdown

Yesterday we added two new languages to CodeZoo: Python and Ruby. You can see from the language requests graph, above, the languages for which we got more than a few requests (I’ve left off Cobol and the others that only were requested a couple of times). From this, the choice of Python is completely obvious — it was the winner in the request race, beating out C++ and many other languages that might be considered “larger” by other metrics. In addition to the clear demand for it, Python is a natural fit for O’Reilly, since we publish a great deal of treeware and online material about Python, and cover Python extensively at our conferences (especially at the Open Source Convention taking place this week).

Ruby, however, is tied for fifth on the list, and in raw component counts on our site, it is the smallest of the languages we support. As we’ve discussed on Radar over the past few months, we see Ruby as an emerging force in the open source world, driven by interest in Ruby on Rails, and by the excellent books on Ruby written by the Pragmatic Programmers…

I was actually really surprised at how strongly dynamic languages showed up on this chart. I’m eye-balling it as there aren’t any numbers but Python, PHP, Ruby, and Perl seem to have taken down almost 50% of the requests with C{,#,++} taking down a large majority of the rest. Is this a fair sampling of the general development population? Developers with a web/UNIXy background seem to be over-represented at O’Reilly so its probably a bit skewed, no? Still, the amount of acceptance dynamic languages are gaining is pretty staggering at this point.

4 Responses to “O’Reilly CodeZoo Language Requests”

  1. Robert Sayre:

    I’m interested in this set of people you call “Developers with a web/UNIXy background”. I occasionally work with some very MS-oriented people. They tend to use Cygwin.

    comment at 05. August 2005

  2. Marc Hedlund:


    Thanks for the comments. I think one other filter to consider for this data is the availability of a central component repository for that language. Both Perl and Ruby have a site that developers clearly know to use (CPAN and RubyForge, respectively), while in the case of Python there’s disagreement (CheeseShop, Parnassus, etc.). My sense is that the Pythonistas were more vocal in part because their community wanted what we’re offering more. PHP seems to be the same way. Likewise, VB is very well served by component repositories, and we received almost no requests for it.

    I do think the Microsoft languages in general received fewer requests than I would have expected. Particularly, I would have expected C# requests to be a lot higher. Especially since the .Net component model is so well designed, I’d have thought there would be more interest. I’m not sure what the explanation for that is.

    Thanks again for the comments.

    Marc Hedlund

    comment at 05. August 2005

  3. Ryan Tomayko:

    Robert: perhaps I’m being overly black and white. My experience has been that MS oriented people are less likely to give dynamic languages a fair look since most of them come with UNIXish idioms that maybe don’t fit all that well in the traditional MS product lineup. My assumption has been that these inconsistencies are mischaracterized as lack-of-quality.

    Anyway, I worked backwards from that mindset and further assumed that the high request rate for dynamic languages might be due partially to an over-representation of peoples with heavier *nix backgrounds frequenting O’Reilly.

    But yea, assumptions based on assumptions based on what is perhaps a simplistic way of looking at how developers often use Windows and *nix systems.

    comment at 05. August 2005

  4. Bob Ippolito:

    Doesn’t PHP already have PEAR as a central component repository?

    comment at 06. August 2005

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