Julia got in the "most loved languages" of the StackOverflow Survey

If this is true or not depends on the assumption that the percentage of contributors within the users is a constant or not. In other words, if some communities have significantly more engaged people per user of the technology.

I don’t follow, do you mean the move of Microsoft to stop supporting Atom, or the move of Julia IDE effort? The later was driven by the former if I understand correctly, and I don’t think the popularity of julia would have swayed MS one way or the other

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Just a nuance. Before to contribute to one ecosystem/community, everyone has been an user.

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What I meant was that a proper evaluation of a piece of software should take into account both its technical and social aspects. If not, you might look at the Julia plugins for Atom and VS Code, observe that Atom has more features than VS Code (this may no longer be true, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument), and decide to got with Atom even though it is clear that VS Code will overtake Atom in the near future.

Of course, “taking into account social aspects” can take many forms, and I’m not necessarily saying that the StackOverflow survey is a good way to do so. I don’t know enough about that survey to really comment on this. Other ways would be to look at number of contributors on GitHub, number of packages, certain high-profile people contributing to the project, etc.

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That was indeed unclear. I updated my post.

Certainly. My point is that contributors are the only thing that directly matters for the viability of an ecosystem around a language.

One can of course make the case that a language should attract users who can then become contributors. This is not disputed, but is only relevant if those users do become contributors. That should be the target, not users per se.

These are of course truisms, but it is easy to lose sight of them with surveys like this. Suppose someone tries out Julia and finds that it is a great language, but usually the quickest way to get a feature in libraries is to add it yourself. They don’t want to do this, not even to the smallest extent, so they move on to another language. This is “losing” a user, but should not affect the viability of the project.

Not necessarily, and not necessarily even close. I know a lot of people who got into SciML development because they are interested in methods, but don’t necessarily use the methods all that often. @YingboMa is a great example! I think most people working in SciML are of this methods type.

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