Python Productivity Gain?

Matthias no at spam.pls
Tue Feb 17 10:47:29 CET 2004

Peter Hansen <peter at> writes:

> Matthias wrote:
> > 
> > This study reports a programmer productivity gain of about 2 for all
> > the scripting languages over C, C++, and Java.  It is a pity that not
> > more attempts to gain /unbiased/ information on software productivity
> > are undertaken.
> I agree.  Unfortunately, it appears, the cost of doing that is just too
> high.  Several times I've wanted to do a study in my company to measure
> the claimed productivity improvements of Python (and of other things) but
> in the end without funding it's not likely to happen, or to be credible.

I can see that it's hard to get company funding for such research.
But then: Software is a multi-billion dollar business, languages are a
really fundamental tool for it (if you get a 5% increase in
productivity by adding/removing a feature X from language Y this can
be huge savings overall).  Yet nobody seems to be bothered that the
evolution of computer languages goes like: Somebody has a cute idea,
builds a language around it, tries to hype it, maybe attracts
followers, maybe creates a market which then attracts more followers.
It's all trial and error, like medicine in the middle ages.

A more scientific approach would be: Take a language X, build variants
X-with-OOP, X-with-static-typing, X-with-funny-syntax and let
developers use it under controlled settings.  Watch them.  Generate
bug statistics.  Look for differences.  Try to explain them.  This
would be hard work, difficult to do and expensive.  But I expect this
approach would find better [1] languages faster.  The benefits might
be substantial.


[1] At least better w.r.t. certain application domains and certain
types of developers.

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