Thursday, May 18, 2006

Programming Language Productivity

Norvig [1] commented on two productivity studies by Prechelt [2] and Garret [3]. The results for the productivity of the languages isn't immediately apparent, so I extracted the relevant information as a "productivity summary" [4]. The results strongly indicate that programmers who solve a problem with fewer lines of code are more productive, irrespective of the language used. Thus languages which are more succinct could be said to be more productive.

For entertainment purposes, I solved the given problem in Python; it took me 1 hour 10 minutes, with 31 lines of code. I spent 10 minutes reading the problem, and 40 minutes fixing mistakes that I had made due to not reading the problem carefully enough. There is a lesson here...

(Productivity Summary) (My Solution)


Blogger Connelly said...

The two studies have some flaws -- the programmers for all languages other than C, C++, and Java self-reported programming times. The exact equality of the medians for Perl and Python makes me wonder whether the data were "fudged." The study states that 74 programmers implemented 80 solutions -- this means some programmers posted 2 or more solutions in the same language or in two different languages. But once you have solved the problem once, it should be trivial to solve a second time...

However, there is also reason to suspect that the results are good: the number of lines per hour is remarkably consistent.

I posted a note to the Python list [1] and the Lisp newsgroup [2] asking if anyone knew of any similar studies. In Google Scholar, I tried "who cites this," but I could not find any similar studies.

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Anonymous Sildenafil said...

when I was in college, I had to do a research on Garret's the productivity studies and I learned from Garret's clever insights

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Blogger Arleen said...

1 hour 10 minutes is indeed very fast response to this issue, I also like to keep it light and simple, no unnecessary code lines are need it, the simple the better.

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