Programmers, take note. Infoworld's Peter Wayner has done a deep think about which programming languages are hot. It's a fascinating list, and he uses some pretty interesting logic to make his point. 

A quick summary:


It was good enough to be the first language available on Google's AppEngine - a clear indication Python has the kind of structure that makes it easy to scale in the cloud, one of the biggest challenges for enterprise-grade computing.


Ruby, or more precisely the combination of Ruby with the Rails framework known as Ruby on Rails, is becoming increasingly popular for prototyping. Its entrance into the enterprise came on the heels of the Web 2.0 explosion, wherein many Web sites began as experiments in Ruby.


Built for mathematicians to solve systems of linear equations, MATLAB has found rising interest in the enterprise, thanks to the large volumes of data today's organizations need to analyze. Many of the more sophisticated statistical techniques that match people with advertisements, songs, or Web pages depend upon the power of algorithms like those solved by MATLAB.


JavaScript is not an obscure language by any means. If anything, it may be the most compiled language on Earth, if only because every browser downloads the code and recompiles it every time someone loads a Web page.


R is another Swiss Army Knife of numerical and statistical routines for hacking through the big data sets - collections big enough that it might be better called a Swiss Army Machete.


Does your server need to respond to many different independent messages concurrently? Do you need to parcel these requests out to different cores or servers in various parts of the world? That's practically the definition of the hardest part of enterprise computing. Erlang, an open source language first created by scientists at Ericsson Computing Laboratory, excels at these tasks.


Cobol jockeys today get to play with object-oriented extensions, self-modifying code, and practically every other gimmick. A recent search of showed more than 60 jobs mentioning Cobol and 1,100 mentioning Ruby. The bulk of the jobs seemed to involve counting money (asset management) and counting doctor's visits (Health IT). While these are some of the same areas that first adopted computers for back-office processing, the work still needs to be done.

-- Don Willmott