Results from the YOW! Language Vibrancy Survey

Technologies have an arc; they rise and fall. Some more than others. Some rise again.

An important factor in the lifecycle of a technology is the vibrancy of the community around it. As DiUS is a technology company, keeping an eye on the lifecycle of technology is important to us. We’ve all got our opinions and our favourites, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be blinded by them. I decided we needed an objective measure to use an input to our decisions about technology for projects.

There are three main components in technology vibrancy:

  1. The quantity and quality of face-to-face time we spend sharing experience and knowledge of a technology.
  2. The quantity and quality of online sharing of knowledge and experience with a technology.
  3. The number and currency of projects using a technology, and how community members rate them.

I set out to gather a representative amount of data to capture these three components using Meetup, Stack Overflow, and Github respectively.

Each day the index engine gathers the data from these sources and calculates the index score for that day. The technologies in each category are ranked by today’s score, and we share the results here in the hope that others will find it useful too. The scores are not a measure of a technology’s fitness for any particular purpose; they are measuring the level of activity around a technology.

The YOW! Survey

As part of our sponsorship of YOW! Conference this year, we thought it would be interesting to compare the global index with the vibrancy of the local community represented by the attendees at YOW! in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. A survey would capture the data, but to keep it brief and more likely to get a response from people in the full conference schedule, we simplified the question and restricted the scope to languages. We had 170 responses to the question about their activity with each language over the previous 30 days.

These are some of my observations of the results:

  1. The top three languages by vibrancy are the same as for the global index. This was necessarily a given. It suggested to me that the dominance of these three carried through the process of simplifying the question we asked at YOW!. For example, the Vibrancy Index looks at the number of meetups in the previous 30 days, the number of attendees, and their rating by the attendees. In the YOW! question, we only asked whether you had been to a meetup in the previous 30 days; for the sake of brevity, we did not ask about the quality of the meetup, or how many people were there, or whether there was more than one meetup.
  2. Clojure is bigger in the local YOW! community than it is globally. This might suggest that the local YOW! community interest in pure functional programming is higher than elsewhere in the global technical community.
  3. The top grouping of languages is much tighter than in the global index, suggesting the YOW! community is active in more than one language at the same time. This is consistent with our observation that over the last 4-5 years it has been important to be more multi-lingual and willing to use the best technology for the task than in previous times.
  4. At DiUS our top three languages looks slightly different. We are certainly using more JavaScript in front-end frameworks such as AngularJS, regardless of what we use in the back-end, so our number one is JavaScript. In number two place at DiUS is Ruby, and it has been for a couple of years. We’re not seeing Java being a suitable language on the server-side very often these days; Ruby is a lot more productive. We’ve been doing a lot more Android development this year, so Java lives on for that platform. JVM-based languages other than Java, though, such as Scala and Clojure, are gaining ground. So for us the top three are:
    1. JavaScript
    2. Ruby
    3. Scala

Here are the results of the YOW! survey.

The level of community vibrancy for languages for the 30-day period leading up to Yow! 2013.

A big thank you to the YOW! survey participants. We raised $850 for the Red Cross Philippines Typhoon Relief.

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