Book Sales as a Language Popularity Indicator

By Deane Barker on March 3, 2006

ASP.Net on a Roll: O’Reilly indicates that ASP 2.0 is the hot technology these days.

Based on book sales data, it looks like ASP.Net 2.0 is on fire, with ASP-related book sales up 53% since the same period a year ago, versus PHP, down 3%, and JSP, down 25%. Of course, Ruby on Rails didn’t exist a year ago, and it now represents a market that is 1/6 the size of the PHP and ASP book markets, and all that generated by a single book (versus 50-60 titles each for PHP and ASP.) Still, our numbers indicate a lot of enthusiasm for ASP 2.0.

I’m programming with ASP.Net right now. While it’s nice for some things, I certainly wouldn’t pick it over PHP or Rails for a public Web site, but that’s just me. (However, this particular application is on a Windows-based intranet, for which it’s a no-brainer.)

I’ve always had a theory that you can pick the next big things by watching the amount of shelf space they get at the local Barnes and Noble. I watched both Python and Ruby books first appear, then slowly grow over the course of about two years, into what they are today. Barnes and Noble is the first place I noticed either of them.

Lately I see persistance in a book about Lua. Maybe this is next?



  1. ASP book sales are up because people are realizing they’re completely lost without some sort of guide to the new material. ASP.NET’s model is so alien to most ASP developers that they wind up needing a book.

    I also am developing in ASP.NET at the moment, but I’m not enjoying it too much. Seems to me that to accomplish anything that deviates from what MS thought people would be doing is so difficult that it not really worthwhile to use ASP.NET as a fast-to-get-up-and-running platform. Rails I haven’t tried, but with PHP it seems like to accomplish “new paradigms” is very easy, either based on code you’ve written before or on other people’s frameworks.

    Anyways, there’s a time and a place for everything, ASP.NET included. But I can certainly understand why people are buying books – I had to buy several myself because its such a steep learning curve from ASP/PHP/etc. I’ve been developing in PHP for a good 5 years I’d say, and I’ve never had to buy a book, even when I was starting.

  2. Perhaps Lua will just become popular because of all the World of Warcraft addicts like myself.


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