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C# and Java Weekday Languages, Python and Ruby For Weekends? 389

Posted by timothy
from the like-a-commercial-for-light-beer dept.
Dan Lorenc writes "Using the StackOverflow.com data dump, I measured the activity of various programming languages throughout the week. The results: Ruby and Python saw a rise in questions asked on the weekend while C# and Java saw a dropoff in activity on the weekend. This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use. Show this experiment to your boss the next time you are selecting a programming language for a project at work."
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C# and Java Weekday Languages, Python and Ruby For Weekends?

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  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:22PM (#29077797)
    Where does Perl fit into all of this? Is that at night when the leather and chains come out?
    • by schmidt349 (690948) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:25PM (#29077819)

      Of course. What exactly did you think

      use strict;

      means?

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:12PM (#29078167) Journal
      Maybe Perl programmers don't post questions on a web site, they just write code and read the docs when they don't know something?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Daniel_Staal (609844)

        Also, Perl has a few dedicated sites for language questions. PerlMonks comes to mind, for instance. It gets fairly high visibility in search results, so it's likely to attract more users, instead of them going to a general programming website.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Korin43 (881732)
          Seems like php would be the same way. I don't think I've ever asked a php question on a message board since I can just do a google search with "site:php.net".
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by arth1 (260657)

            While a perl user will get almost all answers answered by "man perl" (and the numerous other man pages which the main perl man page will tell you about) or "perldoc", and the few remaining ones by reading the camel.
            I could also be mentality. If you have a personality type making it common to ask others for assistance, you might not be the type who would pick perl.

            But really, William of Ockham tells me that those doing this "study" were monitoring the forums they themselves were familiar with.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        Maybe Perl programmers don't post questions on a web site, they just write code and read the docs when they don't know something?

        Having read Perl, I'm pretty sure Perl programmers simply keep typing regardless.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:24PM (#29077809)

    Show this experiment to your boss the next time you are selecting a programming language for a project at work.

    I totally agree that Java isn't fun. It's very restrictive and almost forces even the simplest task to be forced into a complex object oriented structure. It is definently not a language to just play around and hack stuff together.

    And this isn't ground breaking news either.. most people who use java at work are well aware that it isn't much fun to code.

    The reason it's chosen is that all that extra code and restrictiveness makes for some very maintainable code. Everyone (or almost everyone) adheres to a strict coding convention and general approach that makes code across projects very consistant. The fact that there is a massive standard library, in addition to a set of mature defacto 3'rd party tools also contribute to this.

    And I know there are gonna be all kinds of comments and success stories about how ruby and python are _more_ maintainable and faster and more efficiant and can walk on water and will give you a BJ if you import the right library.. but imo nothing comes close to Java in the maintainability department.

    The short story is a coder playing around in his spare time has a different set of priorities than a developer at work. When you're playing.. use what's fun.. when your working.. use what works.

    • Grails and Groovy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Foofoobar (318279) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:29PM (#29077857)
      I'm rediscovering the fun of Java with Grails and Groovy. Groovy takes the best of PHP, Python and Ruby and integrates it into Java and Grails finally creates a framework without a million XML configs. It has made web dev in Java easy and pleasurable.
      • by mgkimsal2 (200677)
        FWIW, there's still a load of XML config files (you probably already knew that!) it's just that following the convention of Grails they're automatically handled for you. There's probably fewer than an equivalently functional straight Java app, but there's still quite a few XML files - more than I care to see. Still your point about discovering fun with Groovy and Grails is well taken. They were fun enough to inspire http://groovymag.com/ [groovymag.com] (shameless plug!) :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Xymor (943922)
        Grails mono should be "Have your cake and eat it too". It's amazingly productive and it integrates seamlessly with current java environments and skillset.

        Groovy however i find not as amazing. Specially with all inconsistencies that \type annotation\ bring to the table.The humongous stacktraces are a sore in the eyes and complicate debug. The current IDE support is lacking but rapidly improving with SpringSource team efforts(STS2.1 has a pretty decent groovy&grails support).

        There's a lot of roo
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      Java may not be fun or sexy, but on the other hand it is intended to be strict to make it easy to maintain in the long run.

      The problem is that Python & co are more like Basic than anything else (it's a lot like dressed-up classic Basic) and that the strictness is missing which in turn means that what one person has written is hard to maintain by another person. This is especially hard if dynamic typing is used.

      The point behind statically and strongly typed languages is that you will catch a large number

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:01PM (#29078087)

        The problem is that Python & co are more like Basic than anything else (it's a lot like dressed-up classic Basic)

        Yes, because classic Basic had functions with named arguments, lexical scoping, call stack... Would you mind to share your insight into this with us? The line of reasoning that equates the so-called "classic Basic" with Python?

        and that the strictness is missing which in turn means that what one person has written is hard to maintain by another person

        There are various kind of strictness and I can't think of any that a) would ensure that one person understands another person's code and b) could not be broken in Java while being easily broken in Python, e.g.

        The point behind statically and strongly typed languages is that you will catch a large number of bugs during compilation, but if the type is assigned during runtime you get a lot of hidden bombs that are just waiting to go off.

        Java is hardly an example of a statically and strongly typed language. Most Java value types are actually object classes, and these are heap-allocated objects checked at runtime. Combine this with the fact that you can cast an expression to another type and you end up with runtime exceptions. Now if you were talking about ML or Haskell, that would be something different, but you haven't actually mentioned any good statically and strongly typed language in your post.

        There are of course problems with Java too, but they are hardly solved with a script language.

        Python, e.g, was not designed to be a scripting language. It can be used in that role with great success, but that does not make it one.

      • by Frequency Domain (601421) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:08PM (#29078145)
        You're confusing two orthogonal concepts - static typing and strong typing. Python, Ruby, Smalltalk, and lisp are all strongly typed, but the type enforcement occurs at runtime rather than compile time. C and C++ require that variables have compile time type definitions, but then can do all sorts of implicit conversions so they are statically but weakly typed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gomoX (618462)

          Well, it depends on what definition you take. The Dragon book, which is pretty much the standard CS book on compilers, defines strongly typed as "a language where type errors cannot occur at runtime". With this definition, Python is certainly not strongly typed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by bnenning (58349)

            The Dragon book, which is pretty much the standard CS book on compilers, defines strongly typed as "a language where type errors cannot occur at runtime". With this definition, Python is certainly not strongly typed.

            Neither is Java.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Z00L00K (682162)

          And when a type check occurs at runtime it's a bomb in the code waiting to go off at the most inconvenient moment ever.

          The cost of finding bugs in a solution is raising exponentially with each stage in the application process of compile-link-execution.

          You may claim that those problems should be rectified when running tests, but that also means that you have to verify that you have covered every execution path leading to every case where there may be an error.

      • by ultrabot (200914) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:10PM (#29078151)

        C/C++ aren't good either, but for small solutions C can be useful while C++ has the disadvantages of both C and object-orienting combined.

        This betrays utter lack of understanding of C++. C++, when done properly, has very little of the problems of C (type unsafety and tedious manual memory management come to mind first).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by digitalunity (19107)

          C++ is like a double edged sword. In the hands of an idiot, it will let you create catastrophic type safety failure.

          Then again, in the hands of a true coding genius, multiple inheritance, polymorphism and dynamic casting can allow some truly ingenious coding.

      • by orzetto (545509)

        There is a reason why really old systems around have their code written even in Cobol, Fortran or Pascal. Languages for which you cannot find a decent programmer any more, and that companies are stuck with.

        Corrected that for you. And frankly, I do not know enough about Cobol, but you must have never seen Fortran real-life code.

      • by bnenning (58349)

        Java may not be fun or sexy, but on the other hand it is intended to be strict to make it easy to maintain in the long run.

        Most of Java's annoying verbosity is not due to its strictness. It could add closures, real method objects, collection literals, properties, and map/filter without giving up strong static typing.

      • by loonycyborg (1262242) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:24PM (#29078245)

        C++ has the disadvantages of both C and object-orienting combined.

        Wrong. C++ has advantages of both C and object-orienting combined. And some really nice libraries such as boost [boost.org]. That comes at a cost of pretty steep learning curve which IMO is worth it.

      • by Bralkein (685733)
        Well I've been told that in languages like Ruby and Python, you are supposed to religiously write lots of unit tests. In doing this it is supposed that a lot of those "hidden bombs" as you put it can be caught and eliminated. It's certainly a nice idea, and that way of course a lot of the "checking code" would be moved away from the "doing stuff code" if you see what I mean. Of course, theory and practice are two different things, and it is for that reason that I have been considering untertaking a signific
      • I can write unmaintainable shitty Java code. The language doesn't prevent me from being a complete idiot.

        Want to watch?

    • I find Java a lot of fun.

      • by arevos (659374)

        I find Java a lot of fun.

        Ah, but how many other programming languages do you regularly use?

        • I would agree with him.

          I find Javascript boring, PHP is fun too but it's ugly. Python is fun but I dislike the lack of braces and how it has to be formatted so I only it for small CLI stuff. But I think that comes down to how I learned programming as is the case with a lot of people. Their learning experiences will determine what they like.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arevos (659374)

      but imo nothing comes close to Java in the maintainability department.

      I disagree, for two reasons. First, as Java is a very restrictive and verbose language, projects written in Java tend to use more lines of code than projects written in, for instance, Python. I find that it's much easier maintaining a small amount of complex code than it is to maintain a large amount of simple code.

      Second, you cannot reduce the complexity of a project by restricting the complexity of the programming language you write it in. By not supporting complex types or lambda expressions Java becomes

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 644bd346996 (1012333)

        ... By not supporting complex types or lambda expressions Java becomes a more straightforward language, but the cost is that Java APIs are generally more complicated than equivalent APIs in other languages. Take a look at almost any library written in Ruby and contrast the API to an equivalent library in Java; 9 times out of 10, the Java API will a large number of methods and classes that the Ruby version can sidestep through the use of blocks and dynamic classes. ...

        I think a good way of explaining this is to say that the Java way of doing things compartmentalizes the complexity of a system. This is great from a damage control perspective, but makes it very difficult for adding new features, because for that you need to be able to see the big picture.

        • by arevos (659374)

          I think a good way of explaining this is to say that the Java way of doing things compartmentalizes the complexity of a system.

          Well, yes, but that wasn't quite what I was getting at. For instance, let's say I want to allow the user of my API to add a callback to an event like clicking a button. In Ruby, I could just use a block. In Java, I'd have to write an callback interface to mimic the functionality that is already built into Ruby.

      • Java is verbose, that is true. But in Java, the easy things and the hard things are equally verbose (which is great).

        Comparing to Python: Maintaining Java is way easier because due to its strictness, great IDEs have been developed. Refactoring code, call hierarchies and so on are just not doable in Python.

        I use both, but I understand why companies will stick to Java. I'd prefer a consistent Java repository over a pile of scripts any time.

        • by arevos (659374)

          But in Java, the easy things and the hard things are equally verbose (which is great).

          I'd say that in Java, the easy things are verbose and the hard things are usually infeasible.

          Comparing to Python: Maintaining Java is way easier because due to its strictness, great IDEs have been developed. Refactoring code, call hierarchies and so on are just not doable in Python.

          There are refactoring tools for Python, but it's true that they are not as comprehensive as the ones for Java. However, refactoring in a dynamic language like Python or Ruby is, in my experience, less important than it is in Java. In Java, you're dealing with a lot of verbose source code with a rigid class structure spread across a number of files. In Python or Ruby, you're dealing with a small amount of concise sou

          • by quanticle (843097)

            There are refactoring tools for Python, but it's true that they are not as comprehensive as the ones for Java. However, refactoring in a dynamic language like Python or Ruby is, in my experience, less important than it is in Java.

            Well, I disagree with that. Its easy to write unmaintainable code in any language. Unfortunately, as the grandparent points out, in languages that aren't as rigid as Java, its more difficult to fix unmaintainable code, since so much about the program is inferred at runtime. This makes static analysis for bugs and common refactoring patterns almost impossible, since each file of the source code is much less independent of other files.

            Of course, the easiest way to fix unmaintainable code is to not write it in

      • by Cyberax (705495)

        Java code is usually larger than code in other languages, true.

        But currently Java has the best tools in existence. IntelliJ IDEA is the best IDE out there.

        In fact, power of Java tools is so great, it can argued that Java+IDE is in fact a higher-level language. For example, C# has LINQ for statically-typed queries checked at compile time, Java has nothing of that sort in the core language. However, "edit-time" inspections in IDEA provide even better support for checking queries: http://files.rsdn.ru/37054/HQ [files.rsdn.ru]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arevos (659374)

          In fact, power of Java tools is so great, it can argued that Java+IDE is in fact a higher-level language.

          Java tools are useful in the same way as a wooden stump is useful. It's better than nothing, but I'd rather keep my actual leg.

          In the same way, I'd prefer a language with lambdas, macros, dynamic loading, immutable fast data structures and homoiconicity. Java's IDEs go a long way to making Java bearable, but it can't compare with better designed languages.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bill_kress (99356)

        Complexity is not really all that related to size. It's more about readability and predictability--hidden surprises, how long it takes you to figure out what a single line is doing, and how long it takes you to find out what a single method is doing.

        So if you use those parameters, Java may actually come out as more readable since javadocs are so well used, the tools tend to bring up docs on over, there are no surprises in the syntax, etc.

        I actually enjoy working in it as well. I'm pretty good at factoring

    • REFACTORING (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TwinkieStix (571736) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:11PM (#29078161) Homepage
      Statically typed languages allow for some very aggressive refactoring tools. Modern software engineers that work all day in a programming environment can easily move code around as if it were paint on a canvas using good modern refactoring tools. Pushing methods in, out, and across interfaces, changing the type of a method return, or it's name, and altering the design of a complex inheritance hierarchy are all done with simple keyboard shortcuts in Eclipse when programming in Java. While I've not used it, I understand that C# developers have access to some similarly complex tools.

      And, the compiler can act as a first line of defense, alerting the user of bugs before an executable is even created. All of these refactoring tools work to refactor the unit tests as well, so code written using TDD isn't harmed by all of these changes.

      This kind of stuff I just haven't been able to replicate using Dynamic languages, which is why I choose them for my small personal project, and am glad I use a statically typed language that scales to hundreds of developers and millions of lines of code at work.
    • Which is why, to my mind, C is still the best overall language. Yes, it doesn't give you the hand-holding that other languages do, and you can get yourself into a helluva lot of trouble if your sloppy or inexperienced, but at the end of the day, it, and a fair number of the other procedural languages, to my mind, are simply more malleable languages. I know that the OOP war is pretty much dead now, with the OOP languages seemingly having one the day, but not everything is a windowing event.

      The thing I love

      • by arevos (659374)

        Which is why, to my mind, C is still the best overall language. Yes, it doesn't give you the hand-holding that other languages do

        It also lacks a lot of the functionality other languages have.

    • by StormReaver (59959) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:29PM (#29078281)

      I totally agree that Java isn't fun.

      I have to disagree with everything you said. If you're creating complex object structures for even simple tasks, then you're using Java very poorly, and doing object oriented programming very badly. Java, when used competently, is an efficient, flexible language. It is extremely well suited for hacking things together and playing around, as well as serious development. Getting a simple GUI program up and running is a matter of about 10 lines of sparse code. Getting a simple console program running is about half that. As programs get large, Java's facilities for organization and object decoupling make maintenance much easier than it would be without those facilities.

      I've used more programming languages than I can remember in the last 25 years of software development (I don't think I have enough fingers and toes to count them), and Java is one of my all time favorites (especially since version 6). It's simple, efficient, effective, powerful, maintainable, and lets me get a lot done quickly. As far as programming goes, those are key components of fun. Throw in Netbeans, and it's the closest thing to programming bliss I've ever seen.

      As far as maintainability goes, that has more to do with the quality of the object structures than anything inherent in the language itself. Well designed C++ object structures are just as maintainable as well designed Java structures, just as poor object structures are difficult to maintain in any language.

  • WWTBD? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by migla (1099771) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:25PM (#29077817)

    "Show this experiment to your boss the next time you are selecting a programming language for a project at work."J

    What would the boss do? Maybe he'd come to the conclusion that Java and C# are for professionals while Python and Ruby are for hobbyists?

    • Re:WWTBD? (Score:5, Funny)

      by lukas84 (912874) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:30PM (#29077863) Homepage

      No, it clearly shows that shops using C# and Java employ lazy bastards that don't work on weekends ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by LaissezFaire (582924)
      <quote><p>"Show this experiment to your boss the next time you are selecting a programming language for a project at work."J</p><p>What would the boss do? Maybe he'd come to the conclusion that Java and C# are for professionals while Python and Ruby are for hobbyists?</p></quote>

      I think it's that Java and C# make more sense when the drinking starts, but Python and Ruby make less.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tyler_larson (558763)

      What would the boss do? Maybe he'd come to the conclusion that Java and C# are for professionals while Python and Ruby are for hobbyists?

      It is.

      Dynamic languages are fast and fun, but writing maintainable code in Ruby or Python takes an absurd amount of time and discipline. Take the following real-world, not-at-all-uncommon example. Imagine you have the function "get_results", and you want to quickly determine what all the parameters do. So you have a look at the code:

      def get_results(**args):
      color

      • So, Python is just a toy language, eh? One unsuited to use for any heavy lifting or by large programming teams? Funny, someone should tell Google so they can replace all of their code. Same goes for Pixar, too, I suppose.

        Look, you're making a classic mistake in assuming that your experience is the sum total of all programming tasks. The truth is that we have lots of programming languages because no single language or class of language can do all things equally well. There's a time and a place for a str

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Coryoth (254751)

        Of course if you take this line of thought seriously then you realise that Java and C# are the light options that don't really force you to do enough. If you were serious about being forced to be more explicit for the sake of maintainable code you would be using Eiffel, or Spec#, or JML abd ESC/Java2 with your Java, or SPARK-Ada, or writing specifications in B or Z. I'm betting you don't do any of that though because you view it as "too much work", even though many of those options (such as Spec# of JML) re

  • by Shados (741919) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:27PM (#29077833)

    While its probably one of the factors... Java and C# are very heavily used in business environments. So if you're trying to expand your horizon by learning something new, you're not going to be looking at stuff you do day to day.

    So I'd assume anything people would do during business hours would take a drop on weekends, in favor of things they -don't- do at work, regardless of what it is... It just makes sense.

  • by boguslinks (1117203) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:27PM (#29077835)
    Java in the front, Python in the back
  • I suspect this rather reflects what the various languages are being used for, more than how fun they are. For example, if you are trying to make a stand alone program for windows, your best option is probably C#. On the other hand, if you want to build a web app, you are probably not going to use C#, because you won't be able to deploy your web app without paying a ton of cash for the asp dev license.

    If you are making a web page, it will once again depend what kind of web page you are making. Java real
  • by bonch (38532) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:34PM (#29077897)

    This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use.

    What's to stop me from coming to a different conclusion, such as that Python and Ruby are toy languages not meant for serious projects? It would be just as presumptuous, wouldn't it?

    • by MaineCoon (12585)

      Presumptuous, yes, but also probably more accurate.

    • What's to stop me from coming to a different conclusion, such as that Python and Ruby are toy languages not meant for serious projects?

      Nothing, it you're sufficiently determined to think so.

  • Ghaaaaaa???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TiggertheMad (556308) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:36PM (#29077907) Homepage Journal
    ...showing that these languages are more fun to use.

    ...And in other news, older people seem to die more often than younger people, showing that being dead is much more fun as you get older.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fool! You have completely misinterpreted the data. Python/Ruby users are geniuses 5/7 of the time, only requiring help 2/7 of the time. C#/Java coders, on the other hand, have the reverse syndrome. Therefore, the intelligence of Python/Ruby coder : Java/C# coder is 5:2.

      So switching from C# to Python intrinsically raises your intelligence 150%!

  • Bad Conclusion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:38PM (#29077929) Journal

    Perhaps this only indicates that Java and C# are used more by professionals and Python and Ruby are used more by amateurs. No matter where they work (whether or not they're using Java or C# or even programming at work), it merely indicates that people who use Python and Ruby are active during the weekend.

    Perhaps this simply means that Python and Ruby are more popular with amateur F/OSS and web developers, something that is so obvious it doesn't even necessitate an article.

    • Perhaps this only indicates that Java and C# are used more by professionals and Python and Ruby are used more by amateurs.

      BY JOVE! I think you nailed it!

  • by AdamInParadise (257888) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:39PM (#29077933) Homepage

    When I start a new professional project, I pick the most productive language for the job, according to the circumstances. Usually it's Java because this is the language that everyone in my industry is going to know. In another industry, I guess that I would have to use C, C# or Fortran.

    Now, Java is a reasonably efficient language and I like programming in it. Some of my colleagues cringe and prefer to use obscure languages instead, such as OCaml or (Deity forbid), a language they defined themselves. And the moment they quit you are stuck with thousands and thousands of line of code that no one else can understand.

    The gist is simple: Python and Ruby are fine languages, but when you're programming for a living, "fun" is usually trumped by more important considerations, such as being able to find another programmer to maintain the code.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by arevos (659374)

      When I start a new professional project, I pick the most productive language for the job, according to the circumstances. Usually it's Java because this is the language that everyone in my industry is going to know.

      I agree with the gist of your post that it's easier to find Java developers than Ruby developers. But I find your use of the word "productive" a strange choice in this case. Wouldn't "maintainable" or "well-known" be better? Java may be many things, but I'm not sure it's particularly productive.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:45PM (#29077965) Journal
    I spend my weekends drinking and getting pussy (There's a vapid slut still passed out in my bed right now). Python and ruby are for guys who have no social life and/or can't get laid.
    • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:14PM (#29078177)

      Python and ruby are for guys who have no social life and/or can't get laid.

      You've got it all wrong; obviously those languages are used by porn stars that are so tired after getting laid all week that they'd rather code on the weekend.

    • by ultrabot (200914)

      I spend my weekends drinking and getting pussy (There's a vapid slut still passed out in my bed right now). Python and ruby are for guys who have no social life and/or can't get laid.

      So Java/C# people start drinking early in the morning, and proceed with harassing random women on the street?

      Even if you were into booze & partying lifestyle, you could still get a lot of hacking done before the evening starts.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Whereas those of us who are married spend the weekends drinking and trying to get pussy.

      (Just joking, dear)

    • by janwedekind (778872) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @06:30PM (#29079067) Homepage

      Python and Ruby are the tools of choice when working on a strict deadline while getting a blowjob and having a gun pointed at my head. And yes, this kind of thing predominantly happens on weekends.

  • by prgrmr (568806) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:47PM (#29077975) Journal
    This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use

    Or it could be that Python and Ruby are inherently easier to learn or use; or that they are easier to learn or use by an individual as opposed to the groups usually found in a corporate environment; or that they don't require expensive proprietary compilers or IDE's to make use of; or that they can be used on systems that are slower or have less memory than those often found in corporate environments; or any of a dozen other reasons.

    Irrespective of the actual reasons, automatically equating weekend work with fun is just poor science. And it may not be rocket science, but it is computer science and should be examined as such.
    • Neither Sun's Java SDK (as of version 6) nor Eclipse, the most popular development environment for Java applications, are propritary or expensive. Both are free as in speech and beer.
    • Sun's JDK 6 and later are all Open Source as is Eclipse. Those combined are the primary environment for Java developers. They are both free as in speech and free as in beer. There isn't anything proprietary or expensive about them.
    • by Flwyd (607088)

      automatically equating weekend work with fun is just poor science

      People do all sorts of unfun things on the weekends: cleaning the gutters, upgrading Windows, scrambling to meet a work deadline because you picked the wrong language or environment for your project...

  • Sounds about right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lemming Mark (849014) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:50PM (#29077991) Homepage

    My "real" work is in C, where it's very easy to get certain things done but very inconvenient to do most other things. My fun programming is in Python because it makes quickly knocking together something that works as straightforward as possible. The C stuff is fun too, actually - it's just not the kind of hacking I'd want to do in my leisure time. Spare time hacking is often done alone or collaborating with a small group of programmers; Python's structuring (or lack thereof, depending on your point of view) actually works quite well if there's just you working informally on the code. And the very rapid development and flexibility mean I can get a lot more functionality out for a given expenditure of leisure time.

    Actually, though, my default in a professional environment would probably be Python if it was applicable and I was given the choice. I'd only use C if it's really necessary for the job.

  • Many times at work I prototype with Python or Ruby. When working on weekend projects sometimes just proving something can be done is good enough for me. I write in Java and C++ when things need to be fast, deployable, bug tested, other people will need to work on it, etc, etc. I've noticed a lot of programmers and engineers just like to solve the problems and stop when it comes to their personal projects. It's a puzzle. However, in the commercial world you have to do all the mundane boring additionally that
  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:55PM (#29078029)
    Willie Sutton, a famous bank robber from the early twentieth century, when asked why he robs banks said, "Because that is where the money is."

    I'm a contract .Net C# programmer and the vast majority of jobs available right now are C# and Java. Unfortunately the corporate world follows the mantra, "You can't go wrong with .Net C# or Java".

    The same was said of IBM pretty much throughout the seventies and eighties. Hopefully Ruby and Python will start to make some corporate inroads but I don't see it happening any time soon. wdhowellsr
  • Python Matlab (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stokessd (89903) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @03:55PM (#29078045) Homepage

    I've been making inroads at the (unnamed) aerospace company where I work in getting people to use Python and the pylab and numpy libraries in place of MATLAB. Not only is it free vs. several thousand dollars, but it's faster, more flexible, and makes your teeth whiter. I've been much happier and more productive since I switched.

    We also use "R" for a lot of analysis rather than MATLAB.

    Sheldon

    • Re:Python Matlab (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Manhigh (148034) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:53PM (#29078431)

      I've been preaching the same exact path. Python + numpy + scipy + matplotlib is pretty damn powerful. It would be preferable if matplotlib included 3D visualization, but Mayavi is very good.

      My group used to rely heavily on Excel and VBA. When Microsoft dropped VBA support on the OS X version of Office, we were left in a lurch. I'm hesitant to develop a similar dependency on MATLAB.

      C and Fortran for anything requiring speed, Python for everything else.

  • The results: Ruby and Python saw a rise in questions asked on the weekend while C# and Java saw a dropoff in activity on the weekend. This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use.

    It could just a plausibly mean that Ruby and Python means more overtime or weekend shifts, or that coders are doing a 2nd job for more income and it is focused in the normal work weeks downtime. Of course it is /. and I do not expect unbiased summaries by any means but sometimes they are downright silly in the conclusions drawn.

  • by flynt (248848)

    This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use.

    You forgot the word "could". None of your conclusions follow from this analysis.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:07PM (#29078137)

    This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use.

    That's a breathtakingly poorly-drawn conclusion, although the thought processes involved behind some Slashdot submissions rarely surprises me anymore.

    The more obvious conclusion is that using a scripting language is easier than using a compiled language.

    A secondary conclusion I've drawn from this is more people should consider developing hobbies that differ from their day jobs. Me, I like gardening.

  • That chart shows the percentage of total questions, NOT the number of questions asked.

    In other words, it could be that Ruby and Python developers tend to have odd work-weeks that aren't the standard Mon-Fri boring crap. So maybe on the weekend, C++ and Java workers stop asking questions, but Ruby and Python don't.

    I hate it when people misuse statistics to 'prove' something and don't even know what their own numbers mean.

  • bad summary... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jgarra23 (1109651) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:15PM (#29078185)

    "This means that more programmers are using Python and Ruby on the weekend for their personal projects, showing that these languages are more fun to use."

    this is specious reasoning, just because they're using them on the weekend doesn't mean that the languages are "more fun to use". I tend to drive my car on the weekend but it's definitely not as fun as when I'm walking on the weekdays.

    I'm not arguing with the conclusion I just think the presumption is bogus.

  • by thaig (415462) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:18PM (#29078199) Homepage

    ...because the non-programming parts of the job take a lot of effort and I'm not going to waste time on Java's overdesigned class system.

    Python is very easy to refactor too thanks to duck typing. You get to concentrate that much more on the problem and that much less on the mechanics of types. Java and C++ send you off on the path of creating some complex class hierarchy and trying to get it right first time. In Python you do what's good enough for your current understanding and keep refactoring as you understand better it's easy to develop as you learn. Your programs change more but end up being less warped and overcomplicated.

    I also write a little C and some fairly complicated GNU Make macros to be fair.

    I will not go back to Java or C++ because I think they are the worst of all worlds - compromises that give you part of what you want instead of opposites that you can combine.

  • for me, it's PHP during the week, and Objective C in the evenings and weekends...

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@SLACKWAR ... org minus distro> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @04:29PM (#29078283)

    This article is just an aspect of using the right tool for the right job. And Python and Ruby happen to be a very nice languages for quickly hacking new ideas together. Later you can work out the details and all on Java (no C# love here, and not sorry for it! :), Haskell, or even C/C++, depending on what fits best.

  • Java at work but when I get home it is all about something enjoyable to code with, python!

  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @08:37PM (#29079809)
    I was orginally going to respond to Kodak man but am comfortable just providing this link of their amazing success. http://quote.morningstar.com/stock/s.aspx?t=EK&culture=en-US&region=USA&r=469272&byrefresh=yes [morningstar.com]

    Whoa Nellie! I've always wanted to send this reply but never found a sufficiently relevant post of which to respond.

    All corporate IT departments worldwide are basically Johns looking for the cheapest but most satisfying solution to their current needs.

    So imagine you are a CTO driving down the street and you see on your right a woman who, while attractive, also seems to provide a significant amount of additional services. However when you roll down your window you find out that in exchange for her services you have to marry her and hire her twenty children from a previous marriage in addition to signing a pre-nuptial agreement that pretty much sucks for you. (IBM)

    You continue down the road and see the most beautiful woman in the world and she is guaranteed to be free of any viruses and diseases. Unfortunately she tells you that once you use her services you will be physically incapable of even looking at another women and if you try they will sue both you and the other women in court. Plus she is even more expensive than IBM. (Apple)

    After deciding to keep looking you see a girl who looks less than a biscuit over fifteen but claims to be twenty-five. She is very enthusiastic and actually offers to do anything you want absolutely free. When you ask for specifics she excuses herself and walks over to a group of people who are feverously checking their computers for the most recent, coolest and insane method of satisfying your needs. When she returns she absolutely insures that she can do everything that you want but makes you sign an agreement that you have to share everything that you do with her with everyone else on the planet and she cannot completely guarantee that you will be satisfied. Just before you leave the attractive woman from IBM shows up and offers to throw in the fifteen year old for free as long as you still marry her, hire her children and sign the pre-nuptial agreement. (OpenSource)

    You continue down the road and see a woman so ugly that you can't tell whether she has makeup on or not. She can provide all of the services of all the other girls and cheaper than everyone but the fifteen year old. She cannot guarantee you won't get any viruses or other diseases but promises to provide as many vaccines and cures necessary to keep you from dying. She seems to have a lot of customers and very few of them have died of anything serious so you are very interested in using her services. (Microsoft)

    Before you make a final decision you pull over and roll your windows down to get some air. Suddenly you see a women that looks like nothing you have ever seen but different. She is clearly beautiful but has a strange glow of experience. You actually get out of the car and walk up to her wondering how she would compare to all the other girls. She does not speak English very well but within a very short time you realize that she has as much if not more experience that everyone else. When you ask how much she charges she provides a printout of over a thousand different services at half of what any of the other women are charging, save of course for the fifteen year old, and provides SLAs that put all of the other girls to shame. (Offshore)

    You have finally made up your mind. You are going with the offshore service and invite her to join you in you car. She apologizes and mentions that she is just the representative for the team and if you stop at the next light you can pick up the other ten girls.

    Because I'm no Ron Jeremy I will leave the end of the story, but suffice to say they separated into five groups of two and he fell asleep before they had decided on a
  • by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @11:06AM (#29083439) Homepage Journal

    It is as it always has been: the right tool for the job.

    The kinds of at home projects someone does are the kind for which Ruby and Python (and PHP) are optimized for. Why? Because they themselves evolved to the directions of the userbase who were already doing those kinds of projects. They have requirements, these languages meet them.

    These languages do NOT quite meet the requirements of the projects that happen in the professional workplace, just like a $100 power-tool from Home Depot won't quite be the right thing involved when building a 10 story office. Integration with existing tools and already written software (a BIG, HUGE, DON'T EVER TRY TO REWRITE THE WORLD FROM SCRATCH AGAIN requirement), a history of professional support, perhaps a corporate name to back it up (and while /.'ers don't give Microsoft any respect, the rest of the world does, so deal). These are the requirements for professional software development.

    "fun" never enters into it.

    Ease of use, yes, but that ease of use is driven by what you intend to do with it. If you use the tool for the types of tasks for which it was designed, it is easy to use. If I try to get all transactional and cross-app integrated with PHP, it's a pain, unless I use a higher-level webservice abstraction. If I try to write a simple tiny blog-like webpage in Java, it's far too stressful because there are so many pieces involved that are necessary for more "mission-critical" work that I have to implement even though I don't care.

    Right tool for the right job.

    As it always has been.

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