We just published the 2014 edition of our Market Clock Report For Programming Languages. Gartner clients can get the full report from our website but I wanted to share a new element of the report with everyone here as well.
As is the case for much of Gartner’s research, the primary data source used to assess programming language trends is direct feedback from our clients via inquiry conversations. Gartner clients span a wide spectrum of end-user and vendor profiles, ranging from small to very large enterprises and from the industry leading edge to industry conservative adopters. These technology adopters typically follow a bell curve and, consequently, the bulk of Gartner inquiries within a mature market are dominated by 68% of early and late majority adopters (i.e., the mainstream). As a result, early innovators and conservative adopters (but particularly early adopters) tend to be underrepresented in overall inquiry volume numbers.
Moreover, a sizable portion of Gartner’s client base is focused on corporate IT challenges. The use of languages within other contexts such as R&D, operational technology projects and product engineering tend to be underrepresented. As a result, to most accurately capture the language usage trends of those adopters, which might fall out of the Gartner client “sweet spot,” we have examined the trends in language adoption and usage as reported from a variety of publicly available data sources as well. These sources range from public code repositories, developer forums, published books, job postings and even Twitter traffic.
In this research, we have examined the frequency in which languages are used in a variety of projects hosted on popular sites, such as sourceforge, github, and codeplex among others. Given the popularity and transparency of open-source projects, we have also examined the frequency of language use reported in popular project registry (index) sites, such as www.freecode.com (formally freshmeat) and Blackduck Open Hub (formally Ohloh.net).
In addition, we have also examined the frequency and volume of languages discussed in popular developer portals and developer forums, such as www.stackoverflow.com, www.slashdot.org and www.reddit.com, among others.
Of course, none of these data sources is sufficient in its entirety to provide complete assessment of programming language usage/popularity. For example, public project-hosting sites do not accurately represent older, host-based, legacy languages, such as COBOL and PL/I. However, when these sources are combined in a composite view, clear patterns emerge that provide real-world reflections on how these programming languages are used in the industry. These trends change — sometimes abruptly — over the course of many years. Consequently, we intend to update this research at least once per year, and potentially expand the list of languages and profiles that we cover from year to year as new technologies and trends emerge.
This year we taken all of these data sources and combined them together along with our own inquiry trend data to create a 2014 Gartner Programming Language Index. We’ve ranked the top 35 languages which we believe reflect a balance between the top languages used across the industry in general and the niche of languages (e.g. PL/I, COBOL) that remain important to mainstream (and more conservative) IT organizations.
Have any questions or comments?
Please post them here so that we might refine and improve the index for 2015.
Find me on twitter as well at @marksdriver
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you can ask me questions on reddit at http://redd.it/2i416v too