SAS Beats R on July 2012 TIOBE Rankings

The TIOBE Community Programming Index ranks the popularity of programming languages, but from a programming language perspective rather than as analytical software ( It extracts measurements from blogs, entries in Wikipedia, books on Amazon, search engine results, etc. and combines them into a single index. The July 2012 rankings place SAS in 24th place and R in 28th. This is a reversal from the January rankings, which had R in 24th place and SAS at 31st.

The Transparent Language Popularity Index is very similar to the TIOBE Index except that, as you might guess, its ranking software, algorithm and data are published for all to see. I didn’t find this index until July of 2012 at which time it ranks R in 12th place and SAS in 25th.

I have updated this information in my ongoing article, The Popularity of Data Analysis Software.

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3 Responses to SAS Beats R on July 2012 TIOBE Rankings

  1. Rick Wicklin says:

    Search results are a poor measure to rank popularity, so you shouldn’t place too much emphasis on the Tiobe index. Furthermore, because Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their search criteria, the relative ranking of languages jump around. SAS has “ranked higher” than R for the last four months, but as you know a small change in the underlying measure can result in a big change in a ranking.

    If you place any value in the Tobe ranking (I don’t), view it like the annual US News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities. Although there might be a difference between the colleges ranked first and 20th, there’s not a significant difference between 20th and 23rd. And each year those colleges are going to bounce around (and maybe switch positions) as the criteria changes. More thoughts on this topic and on the statistics of rankings at this blog:

  2. Bob Muenchen says:

    I agree. My interpretation is that TIOBE ranks SAS and R at a similar level, which I find quite interesting. As a headline though, it doesn’t attract many readers. Each of the measures that I describe In The Popularity of Data Analysis Software has its problems. However, altogether I think they paint a very interesting picture.

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