John Smith's Blog

Ramblings (mostly) about technical stuff

Visualization of, and musings on, recent Hacker News threads about liked and disliked languages

Posted by John Smith on

For a while now, I've been itching to find an excuse to something in SVG again, so when there were a couple of threads last week on Hacker News about people's most liked and most disliked languages, it felt like an ideal opportunity.

You can view a wider, more legible, version of the scatter plot via this link. I've used logarithmic scaling, as using a regular linear scale, there was just a huge mess in the bottom left corner.

'Like' votes are measured horizontally, 'dislikes' vertically - so the ideal place to be is low down on the right, and the worst is high up on the left. The results are as captured at 2012/03/28 - I'd taken a copy a couple of days earlier, and there had been some changes in the interim, but only by single-digit percentages.

Some thoughts and observations:

  • The poll this data comes from is somewhat imperfect, as already mentioned in the comments in the thread itself. I should also point out that another poster on that thread also did a similar like vs dislike analysis, but I didn't see that post until I'd already started on this.
  • HN is a very pro-Python place - just compare all the threads related to PyCon 2012 versus the lack of noise after most other conferences - so it's hardly surprising who the "winner" is in such a voter base. I do find it odd though that Python doesn't seem to have such a good showing in other corners of the HN world. e.g. of the (relatively few) HN London events I've been to, I don't recall hearing many (any?) of the speakers using Python for their projects/companies - whereas "losers" such as Java and PHP do get namechecked fairly often.
  • I'm amused that CoffeeScript is liked at exactly the same ratio as JavaScript - 76%.
  • I was tempted to do some sort of colour-coding by language type (interpreted vs compiled), age etc - but at initial glance, I don't see any real trends that might indicate why a certain school/group of languages do well or badly.

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This blog (mostly) covers technology and software development.

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About the author

I'm a software developer who's worked with a variety of platforms and technologies over the past couple of decades, but for the past 7 or so years I've focussed on web development. Whilst I've always nominally been a "full-stack" developer, I feel more attachment to the back-end side of things.

I'm a web developer for a London-based equities exchange. I've worked at organizations such as News Corporation and Google and BATS Global Markets. Projects I've been involved in have been covered in outlets such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, the Financial Times, The Register and TechCrunch.

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