Pictures that are worth 500 billion words!
Google Ngram Viewer shows graphs of how many times words or phrases have occurred in a set of 5 million books over the years. They’re a really interesting way of seeing trends in information and relative importance between words. It’s free and easy so check it out.
Here’s some I recently ran that I found interesting. I ran most of them from 1950 onwards and the info only goes up to 2008.
Comparison of programming languages
Ngram link – When looking at this you’ve got to mentally remove the baseline Java and Pascal references from the 1950 as they’re about coffee, islands and mathematicians. Interesting to see Java so dominant.
Ngram link – I found this one really interesting. Compared to the others in my query “structured programming” had a lot more books written about it. I wonder how much this is a reflection of the rise of the internet… these days although there are lots of programming books the primary source for learning a language is online material?
Ngram link – I was a little surprised to see RUP so much more prevalent than agile but then I did have to add “software development” to the term to avoid including the bendy and stretchy. Also as with the previous one I suspect that there’s a difference here between a vendor driven process with supporting books and a more open source philosophy on agile as a generic umbrella for methodologies, and therefore more online sources. As Ivar Jacobson says: “No one reads process books”
Shareware, Freeware and OSS
Ngram link – This one speaks for itself 🙂 I wish I could have worked out how to add “expensive vendor products” to the query!
User Stories vs. Use Cases
Ngram link – Ah yes, this argument again. Interestingly this dominance of use case over user story in written books correlates with query stats between user stories and use cases on by blog and the ivarjacobson.com site. Personally I think they’re both great and complimentary, I often use them together on software projects.
Windows vs. Linux
For more fun with Ngrams watch this very funny video explaining this stuff