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Interview with Pierre Carbonnelle

Time To Read: 5 minutes or less

Pierre is one of my favorite persons over the internet. He is the founder of PYPL programming index. I check this index literally every month. While back I sent soem questions to Pierre with the hope he'll answer it and yes indeed he did. Below is my friendly not technical interview with Mr. Carbonnelle. Enjoy!

Interview with Pierre Carbonnelle - Founder of PYPL and a Hero for many.

Hero ? You must be kidding !

Could you please tell us briefly about your technical background?

I’m an electrical engineer with MBA who worked in IT in various industries for most of my career. I’m now pursuing a PhD in AI (knowledge representation and automated reasoning, to be specific) at KU Leuven.

When did you first thought of creating an index for languages?

I don’t remember !

What language from the list you follow personally?

I like Python and Haskell.

What are you passions?

I could say “technology for the benefit of society”, but I’m wary of the word passion. I believe passions are dangerous: is it because I’m growing older ? I prefer to think in terms of values I defend. Justice would be one.

what hobbies do you have?

Tennis, stock investing.

People visit your site often to check the index.
As oppose to TIOBE which is a dragging indicator you chose a more "currently on demand style".
Why did you decide go this route?

I had a sense that TIOBE was not reflecting the success of Python. Google Trends did show it. But Google Trends only allow you to compare 4 or 5 keywords. I then starting to think how to remove that limitation.

Do you plan to extend the list? I would love to see Groovy and Elixir.

I regularly add new languages (e.g. Dart). My criteria is that they should have at least about 0,25% share in popularity. I’ll add Groovy soon.

What other websites index or apps do you have or are working on?
I have one on Integrated Development tools, online development tools and on databases, instantiated for various countries. I wish I could add China, but Google Trends has not enough data for it.
I considered adding one on hosting services, but I found the market to be too fragmented. Or is it because I’m less familiar with it ?

What are your goals with the index?

I’m happy to see that it is now read in most countries in all continents. Some countries in Africa have no readers, but Africa has done nice progress in recent years. Groenland has no readers either, but I’m not sure I wish there were: it would be a sign that global warming has become very serious !

Did you programmed the web app for the index yourself?

Yes, using some nice libraries. If I had to do it again, I would probably look at 3D.js.

What language you used and why you picked that language?

On the client side, it had to be javascript, what else ? I generate the static pages with Python. Initially, I used pyDatalog, a declarative language I wrote an interpreter for, but later moved to pandas for speed.

Typically I notice that you post results way faster than TIOBE.
Do you automate the publish date or what method you use to decide when to publish the results.

I usually do it on the first week-end of the month. Yes, I have automated it.

I noticed you have index for many other things like TOP IDE etc.
Which were the first index you added?
I dont remember honestly since once you get use to a site you start forgetting when the features became avalable let alone the order.

I started with PYPL for a couple of years, then decided to add the others: I probably did them together, when I automated the web scraping. I considered going into other fields such as ranking mobile phones, but I’m not sure Google would let me do it. I have other things to do anyway.

Could you share an insight of how many people visit your index?

About 1000 visits per day. That brings me a bit more than 1 € of advertising revenue per day.

Can you let us know what inquiries, questions or comments you typically receive from the visitors?

Some ask me if they can re-use the data (yes, with proper attribution); some wants me to add a language. But generally, it is rather quiet, as it should be.

What is your committment with the index? Have you ever thought on giving up and say well let TIOBE and Redmonks to the job?

Not really. I’ll be happy to continue doing it as long as I can. I just need to run my program once a month !

Any last word you want to tell to your visitors like me?

(not really)

How can people reach you besides your email? Do you have a git repo or a prefer IRC channel or Discord?

E-mail is fine.

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