Stack Overflow analysis on most disliked languages sees Perl top of the tree

Perl, a language used predominantly for common gateway interface (CGI) as well as system administration and network programming, has been voted as the most disliked programming language by the Stack Overflow development community.

The almost 30-year old language came out ahead of Delphi and VBA in the rankings, with a long gap following to PHP, Objective-C, Coffeescript and Ruby.

When it came to overall tags – including operating systems, platforms and libraries – the number one on the dislike list, by some distance, was Internet Explorer, ahead of Visual Basic and COBOL. For most liked tags, machine learning took the top spot, ahead of Git.

This provides an interesting point of analysis for David Robinson, data scientist at Stack Overflow and author of the blog post discussing the research. “Git might be a source of frustration to many developers (it certainly is for me!), but it’s rare that people admit it on their resume, as it’s the most lopsidedly-liked tag in our Developer Stories,” wrote Robinson, referring to Stack Overflow’s resume and career building feature set.

Robinson adds that the diminishing popularity in some languages may be attributable to developers feeling comfortable in expressing public dislike if they sense the language is going that way. Similarly, developers can also use this field to note technologies they used to work with, but no longer do.

Writing for an article in Fast Company in 2014, Conor Myhrvold suggested the demise of the web’s ‘most promising language’ coincided with the rise of Python, a language which continues to soar according to Stack Overflow’s analysis.

“Python’s construction gave an advantage to beginners: a syntax with more rules and stylistic conventions ensured newcomers would see a more consistent set of programming practices; code that accomplished the same task would look more or less the same,” wrote Myhrvold. “Perl’s construction favours experienced programmers: a more compact, less verbose language with built-in shortcuts which made programming for the expert a breeze.”

As far as Python is concerned, Robinson described its rise as ‘incredible’ in a post from September. In June, the language became the most visited tag on Stack Overflow for the first time among high income countries.

You can find Robinson’s blog post here.

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