by Andrie de Vries
Last week, IEEE Spectrum said R rised to #6 in Top Programming languages. They use a weighted methodology of 12 factors to compute their score. Among these factors is the activity on social programming websites, including StackOverflow and Github.
I recently used data.stackexchange.com to query the total number of questions on StackOverflow using the R tag.
It is easy to extend the query to include all of the top 10 languages (according to IEEE Spectrum) and see if the StackOverflow activity tells us anything interesting.
There is a fair amount of noise in the form of monthly fluctuations. The underlying trends are slightly easier to observe by fitting a smoother through the data:
From this it is apparent that R is increasing its rank compared to the other languages. During the past year, it has been catching up to C and should overtake soon to be in position #7. By comparison, during most of 2013, R was in position #9 only.
The IEEE spectrum study uses many other factors, including search rankings and job postings. For R to jump to #6 in their study means that these other factors also play a role.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to compare the numbers on a single, very easily accessible metric.
I didn't try to include any of the other languages in the StackExchange data query, using only the list of top 10. Overall ranking might change in my analysis with a more comprehensive list of tags to search for. (You can change the underlying query and add more tag names)
Here is the code to make these plots: