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I was just wondering — if these data are even publicly shared, and I don't know if they are — are the questions being asked at Stack Overflow a good indicator of development trends in the past and present? Maybe they could even be a kind of sign of which technologies have the most supporters....

Have statistics about this ever been shared by Stack Overflow publicly somewhere? Are they being shared now?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 11 '10 at 15:46

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I think the site is too new to follow any trends like that. –  jjnguy Nov 11 '10 at 15:54
    
Well, you can definitely tell which ones give programmers the most trouble. –  Uphill Luge Nov 11 '10 at 19:39

3 Answers 3

That depends on what type of statistics you are looking for. Stack Overflow "trends" will likely reflect the same sort of activity you see in a book store. They will tell you only what is being talked about, not what is in the most wide-spread use in industry.

Technologies tend to generate a lot more questions and discussion when they are new and hot. But if you look at, for example, questions about the C-language, there is certainly a lot more C code in use than indicated by the number of books you see on the shelves of a bookstore… or on this site.

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+1 very well put, especially the part about "talked about" –  Pëkka Nov 11 '10 at 17:34
    
Particularly if you add the dread "OBOL" after the "C". –  David Thornley Nov 11 '10 at 20:54

As Palantir, said the data are available from the stackoverflow community dump and the API.

There are two caveats with the data:

  • Like Robert says, the data reveal what is talked about and not necessarily what is used, like a bookshop. For instance, Microsoft said in 2009 there were slightly more VB.Net developers than C# developers. But there were many more C# questions on StackOverflow.
  • More specifically the data reveal what is being talked about on StackOverflow. There may be popular technologies whose communities just haven't adopted StackOverflow. For example the StackOverflow Markdown editor is really bad at formatting LISP and Perl code. Of course there aren't many questions about these languages on StackOverflow - but that might be caused by the bad formatting...
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Why not? I think that just by looking at the tags you can get a fair idea of what is currently most discussed. For example, the windows-phone-7 tag could be an interesting one. How can you get those data? Just look at the latest stackoverflow community dump...

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Or you could use the API. –  jjnguy Nov 11 '10 at 16:10

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