|Explore Your Favorite Topic With Stack Overflow's Interactive Trend Tool|
|Written by Janet Swift|
|Wednesday, 10 May 2017|
Stack Overflow has a wealth of data which reflects the level of interest in programming languages and technologies. Now it has provided a simple to use tool for do-it-yourself exploration and analysis of trends over almost a decade.
Introducing the new interactive Stack Overflow Trend tool on the Stack Overflow blog, data scientist David Robinson explains that:
On a typical day, developers ask over 8,000 questions on Stack Overflow about programming problems they run into in their work.
By looking at the technologies that users have asked about since Stack Overflow was launched in 2008 you can see trends in the popularity of different languages, frameworks and general technical topics which have been identified by tags.
Measuring developer interest based on Stack Overflow questions isn’t perfect: some technologies might inspire more questions among its users than others. But we’ve found it’s a simple measure that gives useful insights into the developer ecosystem. It’s especially useful for measuring changes over time: when we see a rapid growth in the number of questions about a technology, it usually reflects a real change in what developers are using and learning.
A second chart is needed to look at other front-end web frameworks because their shares are all at the sub 0.5% level:
Smaller web frameworks show a brutal life cycle, where some show rapid growth then decline over the span of a few years.
But the fun in the tool is performing your own analysis by going to Stack Overflow Trends. You can enter up to 15 tags from a very long list. Start typing and then make a selection. Notice that you can't include anything not already in the list.
According to the TIOBEindex, which is also based on frequency of mentions on the Internet, Java is currently the most popular language with C in second place, followed by C++, Python and C#, so let's look at how they line up. Haskell is a language that is known for being disproportionately talked about (it is currently in 38th place on TIOBE) so let's add it in too:
It seems that C# was a really popular topic for questions in early 2009 but has declined ever since - partly because now it is better documented - for example youi'll find are over 40 articles on I Programmer as well as it gradual decline in popularity as other's become in vogue - see the next chart for how Python's rise appears to have affected it: Java appears to have a repeating cycle. Could this be linked to new releases? Also when questions about Java peak those for C++ and C go down - but as the chart is for share of questions rather than absolute number of questions when one topic goes up another has to go down. The fact that C and C++ have very similar patterns is probably not due to interest in them but rather to what is hogging the limelight at any time.
Notice trhat it would have been a good idea to add Haskell into this chart in order to extend the y-axis down to 0%!
Now you can see how Typscript is currently attracting questions and so is Ecmascript, but at a lower level. Dart and CoffeeScript appear to be in terminal decline. You might think that removing Typescript from the chart would give better resolution, but 1% is the minimum for the top of the y-axis and you cant change the years on the x-axis at all.
Even so this is a fun tool to play with and nicely complements the one for looking at the diurnal patterns in question-asking data we covered recently. Thank you, again Stack Overflow.
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|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 May 2017 )|