I'm running an experiment to measure the activity of various programming languages on StackOverflow as a function of time. Specifically, I would like to try to get a feel for which languages are used most during the work week and which languages are used most at home and on the weekends. Here's a link to my blog post about the experiment.

Basically, I'm scraping StackOverflow.com to count the number of questions asked with specific tags every 5 minutes. Once I get a week's worth of this data, I'm going to do some analysis to see which languages have the most questions asked during which time ranges.

I'd like some feedback on the experiment if possible, as well as some predictions. Do you think languages like C++ and Java are used less on personal projects? Do you think Python and Ruby are used more at home than at work? Hopefully I'll have some definitive answers in a few weeks.

EDIT: Apparently my googling needs some work. I somehow missed the data dump. I'll rework my script to just parse this and have the results in a day or so, as soon as I get the chance.



  • .NET is the most popular (C# specifically) overall, and during the work week.

  • Languages such as Python and Ruby get the most upswing during the weekends (if there is any upswing at all, seeing as how weekends are pretty dead periods on SO).

I'm wondering why you couldn't check the data dumps that are already available for this information instead of trying to go and screen scrape (which may not be appreciated too much).

  • Awesome, somehow I missed the data dumps in my searching. – Dan Lorenc Jul 29 '09 at 14:27

Not really in the spirit of discussion, but dude: There's a data dump. Brent Ozar was frakking awesome and already did this.

There's no reason for you to scrape the bloody site. Jeff was nice enough to provide you the means to get the data.


How do you propose to demonstrate the use of a language at home vs. work? Are you cross-checking every question against the user's location? Because I'm not entirely certain what timezone Super Mario Land, for example, is in.

  • TXI happens to be above the earth. Is that home or work? Both? ponyoverflow.com – Eric Jul 29 '09 at 14:21
  • @Eric: TheTXI doesn't work and his home is actually a pony sanctuary, so he's kind of a gray area. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jul 29 '09 at 14:57
  • @Pesto: There are ponies in space?! – Eric Jul 29 '09 at 15:34
  • @Eric: Of course. They are space ponies: flickr.com/photos/84143785@N00/2655714057 – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jul 29 '09 at 15:40
  • @Pesto: I want one. Yesterday. – Eric Jul 29 '09 at 16:29
  • Pesto: At first I thought you said "so he's kind of a gay area" – TheTXI Jul 29 '09 at 16:39

I think about 2/3 of SO users are outside USA. I would better use weekend / workdays(24h) pair for your classifier.

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