Secondly, let’s talk about what the TIOBE index actually is It’s a measure of how many hits you get back from a search engine when you enter in “<language> programming”. That’s it. In my highly unscientific search on google just then, I found that java programming got back about 176,000,000 hits, while ruby programming got 55,000,000 hits. Yahoo got 48,500,000 and 16,800,000, while MSN got 18,507,589 and 1,634,857. So Google and Yahoo think that Java’s about 3 times more popular than Ruby, while TIOBE and MSN think it’s about 8ish.
(Curiously, all of the search engines said Ruby was more popular than C# – 35,000,000, 15,200,000 and a mere 354,986 hits on the respective search engines. But C# has a higer TIOBE rating than Ruby – 3.656% vs 2.632% for Ruby)
Furthermore, this doesn’t even look at the popularity of certain related keywords. For example, on Google, j2ee programming gets 17,300,000 hits while rails programming gets 24,200,00 hits. So Rails programming is almost 50% more popular than J2EE programming!
Internet search hits aren’t the only measure, anyway. What about book sales for example, where Ruby enjoyed a 68% growth in sales in Q1 ’07 (compared with Q1 ’06) in a shrinking market? Personally, I’d pay more attention to interest expressed in dollars spent than I would to internet hits.
For the record, I’m not a Ruby developer – I’m a J2EE specialist with about 8 years of solid Java experience (plus a few years of other stuff) behind me. Ruby looks nice, but I’ve never taken enough time to play with it, let alone seriously work with it. But people who push news like this out of context and celebrate the “death” of a programming language (especially prematurely!) disgust me. Get a life, guys, and learn how to read the stats, not read your own opinion into them.