Noel Rappin Writes Here

State of the Art

Posted on May 17, 2007

O’Reilly Radar has been analyzing the state of the computer book market on a quarterly basis for a couple of years now.

This link is to a drill-down into the Q1 2007 results for programming languages. The information is of some passing interest to me, both as an author and as language geek.

Things that jumped out at me.

  • Ruby is up a ton, and is now selling more than Perl and Python combined. There are now as many Ruby books in print as there are Python books.

  • Two of the top five books are Rails, with number one being PragProg’s Agile Web Development with Rails. Two of the remaining five are Head First books.

  • But Javascript sells almost twice as many books as Ruby, and is also growing quite a bit. I still see the occasional thought that Javascript will escape the browser and become the language of the future. It certainly seems to be gathering the base.

  • The numbers have just under 10,000 Python books sold in Q1 2007. I don’t have the wxPython book numbers for that quarter yet – results to authors are delayed a quarter, but that means that the wx book was roughly 10% of the overall Python market. I can’t decide if that surprises me or not.

  • It’s funny how your personal perspective skews expectations. In the abstract, I know there have to be a lot of Microsoft shops out there, but I’ve never worked at one, so it’s surprising to see C# and .NET so high on the list. I’m currently surrounded by a lot of IT Perl experts, so it surprises me a little to see Perl so low, even though it probably shouldn’t.


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