IEEE Custom Ranks Programming Languages
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 31 August 2015

Language rankings are fun and cause a lot of arguments, but they can be practically important. Which language should you learn? Which will earn you the most money?

The IEEE produced a custom language ranking a few months ago and it has now been implemented as a web page that anyone can try out.

The key difference between the IEEE rankings and others is that multiple metrics are used. In this case 12 metrics are taken from 12 sources.  Some are similar to those used in other rankings; for example, Google search is the basis of the Tiobe index. There are also some intended to catch different aspects of language popularity. For example, job adverts for commercial value and social media for current "hotness". 

After an initial survey the total number of languages was reduced to just 48 including all of the obvious candidates. If you object to some of them on the grounds that they are not languages - HTML for example - then try to think of them as things that are used in a programming setting. The languages have also been categorized into web, mobile, enterprise and embedded enabling you to see trends in these particular areas. 

The 12 metrics are combined together using different weights. Some standard rankings have been provided, but the really interesting part is that by moving sliders you can create your own rankings.

 ieeeranks1

 

What all of this means is that now, as well as arguing about which language is best, we can argue about which ranking method is best!

There are some interesting observations. It seems that no matter what you do Java is difficult, but not impossible, to shift from first place. 

There are also some things that are difficult to figure out.

For example why isn't JavaScript the top web language?

ieeerank2

This is going to waste hours. 

What the app needs is a button that says:

"Find a weighting that maximizes the ranking of my favourite language"

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