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Programming Trends for 2017

March 30, 2017.

The Stack Overflow report is based on a survey of tens of thousands of software developers from 213 countries and territories around the world.

51,392 developers from 213 different countries responded to the annual survey run by Stack Overflow, the well-known Q&A platform dedicated to programming. The results of the survey, first run in 2013, provide a good snapshot of programming and technological trends.

Popularity of Different Technologies

Most Popular Programming Languages, 2017

Survey questions on programmers’ use of technology show, unsurprisingly, that JavaScript is the most popular programming language today, used by 62.5% of programmers. That has been the case for five years running. Once again, SQL is in second place, Java is in third place, and C# is in fourth place. This year’s change is Python, which went from 26% to 32%, moving PHP out of fifth place. Among the newcomers, TypeScript broke out of obscurity last year to a respectable 9.5 in 2017. C++ and Ruby use is stable, and C use is looking up.

The Language Podium

Most Loved Programming Languages, 2017

Asking developers whether they hope to continue working with each of the languages they currently use can yield some surprising results. This classification expresses attachment to technology: to obtain a good score, a language must allow its users to fulfill their mission in a manner that is both efficient and pleasant. Top of the list for the second year in a row is Rust, the language born under the aegis of Mozilla, with a satisfaction rate of 73%. This is slightly lower than its 2016 score of 79%. Next comes Smalltalk, which has made a puzzling comeback. TypeScript, the JavaScript superset by Microsoft, is in third place, followed by Swift, Apple’s hip new language, which has come down a peg (it was at 72% in 2016). Go, the brainchild of a group of Google programmers is once again in fifth place; Python, Elixir, C#, Scala, Clojure and Javascript also made a good showing, with satisfaction rates of over 60%.

At the bottom of the pile, the least-liked languages are Groovy, Common Lisp, Dart, Erlang, PHP and C. When it comes to reviled technologies, 9 out of every Visual Basic programmers hoped never to have to use that language again; but you don’t always get what you want… (We feel their pain).

Python is setting hearts aflutter, with 20.6% of programmers wanting to learn that language. At the other end of the scale, only 1.5% of programmers want to discover the charms of Perl, the eternal wallflower.

The Database Podium

Most Loved Database Technologies, 2017

As with programming languages, the idea here is to measure how attached people are to a given database technology. When it comes to database management, Redis, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, SQL Server, Cassandra and even MySQL, to a lesser extent, are the favourites. Lots of people want to learn MongoDB (20.8%), while Oracle is definitively the outcast in this family.

Frameworks, Libraries, and Other Technologies

Most Loved Frameworks, 2017

Node.js, the most commonly used in this category, is the uncontested champion, followed closely enough by Angular.js.

React is the most loved among developers, whereas Cordova, the mobile development framework, is the most dreaded. However, Node.js is the most wanted.

Where the Girls Are

Developers Gender, 2017

The survey results are not about to change the “brogrammer” stereotype, but they do show that women are slowly swelling the ranks, with their numbers growing by almost 2% in one year. If that rate is maintained, there will be an equal number of male and female programmers in… 2038. There is still a higher representation of females among programmers in Asia (South Korea, India, China). Almost one-third of programmers in Bangalore are women. Female programmers still seem to be concentrated in just a few fields: design, Quality Assurance (QA) and front-end development. There are also more programmers with non-traditional gender identities: non-binary, genderqueer, transgender, etc.

How do you say GIF?

GIF Pronunciation, 2017

Animated or not, GIF (for Graphics Interchange Format) is pronounced with a hard “g” by two thirds of programmers. We find it hard to believe that there are people who actually spell out GIF…

GIF Pronunciation

Tabs or Spaces?

Tabs vs Spaces, 2017

We left the best for last. It turns out that 43% of programmers use tabs, while 38% of programmers are convinced that the first 43% have got it all wrong. You’ll also notice that there is a significant percentage of programmers (19%) who “mix it up”, those irritating beings who commit the sin of knowingly and happily peppering their code with both spaces AND tabs.

To see the full results of the survey, including developers’ aspirations and remuneration, go to Stack Overflow’s Web site.

[Graphics by Michel Karam, Spiria.]