R Appears Among Top 20 Programming Languages

24Jan12

Speaking of R…

On the 16th, TIOBE Software released the Tiobe Index of the most popular programming languages. For the first time ever, R is in the Top 20. The top spots are, no surprise, occupied by Java and C respectively. More after the jump.

The way this index is assembled is…interesting. The full way the index is assembled is here, but generally its based on a weighted counts of the number of hits on a basket of popular search engines. This does open up the possibility that these are simply the most “Googleable” – or in need of searching – but it seems a decent aggregate measure of these things.

The big story would be Objective-C, which jumped up 3 spots in a dramatic gain in market share, presumably fueled by app development for the iPad and iPhone.

But for stats nerds? R jumped up 6 spots, from 25 to 19, making it into the Top 20. My other favorite, Python, dropped three places from 5 to 8. R is still undeniably a niche language, with 0.609% of the ratings (compared to 17.479% for Java or 3.218% for Python). But its a pretty significant achievement, in my mind, for The R Project for Statistical Computing to be near far more general purpose languages, and topping some heavy hitters, like MATLAB and Fortran.

For reference, SAS is #32 on the list, with a rating of 0.339%

More info is here: http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html

Unfortunately, long term trends are only easily finable for the Top 10 languages, but I’ve sent an email requesting it for R. If it works out, I’ll post it here.

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One Response to “R Appears Among Top 20 Programming Languages”

  1. “The way this index is assembled … seems a decent aggregate measure.”

    Last year I wrote an article that argues against using “search engine hits” as a proxy for “popularity.” My conclusion is that, statistically speaking, it’s not a good measure. Although I don’t address the Tiobe rankings, several comments bring them up. See http://blogs.sas.com/content/iml/2011/08/19/estimating-popularity-based-on-google-searches-why-its-a-bad-idea/


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