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Top Scripting Languages: PHP, Ruby, Python

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Evans Data’s published the result of its scripting language survey. PHP, Ruby and Python are the favorite choices of more than 500 developers and IT Professionals. Scripting languages usages in the enterprise changed with times, the survey outlines the drawbacks and merits of each language. Richard Dice (president of the Perl Foundation) stated in a recent interview that scripting languages have an increasing role in the enterprise, and are not tied to simple tasks or prototyping anymore. The range of applications they cover is also getting wide.
In this survey, users were asked to rank the languages they use based on different aspects or features (from the survey):

  • Ease of Use
  • Exception handling
  • Extensibility
  • Maintainability / Readability
  • Cross-platform portability
  • Community
  • Availability of tools
  • Quality of tools
  • Performance
  • Memory management
  • Client side scripting
  • Security

The languages evaluated were: Actionscript, Flex, Javascript, Microsoft F#, Microsoft Powershell, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, VB Script. The report is based on the perception of the users of those languages. 

The overall ranking (with weights) brings PHP, Ruby and Python to the top. 

The top languages in this study are open source languages and thus evolve in an organic way. The proprietary Microsoft languages, though backed by the software titan and its many resources, did not satisfy their users as well as any of the open source languages.

Ease of use is the most important for Ruby and PHP users, while Python users rated extensibility highest. Community is also an important attribute of those 3 languages with an advantage for Ruby:

The Ruby community is quite small but very dedicated and very vocal.

The report comes across one of the debates that arise on a regular basis: Ruby performance.

Even the most passionate of Ruby users have some doubt about how well a Ruby application can be expected to perform and some well known Web 2.0 apps that were written in Ruby have seen high profile problems with performance as well as scaling.

The report also emphasizes the uniform low interest of developers for security.

At the end Ruby appears to be the first for ease of use, exception handling, maintainability / readability and community.

While Antonio Cangiano and Peter Cooper disagree on the challenge for Ruby in 2009: technical, or evangelism, the EDC survey reveals that the Ruby platform needs to improve in client side scripting (where JavaScript hits the first place) and Tools (quality and availability).

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