Comparing programming languages

Programming language comparisons raise the most flame wars on blogs and forums. Each developer rooting for his favorite language and deriding all the others. Most comparisons are like comparing apples-to-oranges, devoid of any logic, and arguments frequently hinging on ad-hoc rationalization and technical naïveté.

Seldom do we see any empirical evidence backing up the claims. This is one of the reasons I rarely become part of the ‘my-language-is-better’ rigmarole. The most comprehensive empirical study on programming language comparisons I found was at http://www.plat-forms.org/.

“Plat_Forms” is a contest in which teams of three programmers compete to implement the same requirements for a web-based system using different technology platforms (e.g. Java, .NET, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Scala, Smalltalk, JavaScript or what-have-you). The main contenders for 2011 were Ruby, PHP, Perl and Java. The results for the 2011 are given here. Compared to the 2007 study, the results differ markedly.

The detailed results are yet to come, but you can draw your conclusions from whatever data is currently available.

Further reading:
Chapter 14 – Two comparisons of Programming Language from Making software.