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The Most Popular Languages in Digital Health

Sam Yount on October 6, 2015

This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring the state of the digital health landscape from a technical perspective.

Working exclusively with companies in digital health, we are regularly asked about technical trends. One common question is, “What types of languages and frameworks do you see the most?” As a deployment platform for nearly 100 (as of October 2015) digital health companies with over 550 deployed applications, we have some interesting data.

For this survey, we examined the primary language for apps deployed on Aptible. We have tried to only include primary production apps and exclude any helper or logging apps (e.g., the ELK logging stack is a popular utility to run on Aptible, but doesn’t tell us much about the main app.) Finally, of course, these data only represent apps deployed on Aptible, so ASP.NET-specific languages are not represented.

As this is the first time we have collected this data, we can’t make any definitive claims about trends. There are other sources of data for the general tech community, such as RedMonk’s survey on popular programming languages and BuiltWith’s Framework Usage Statistics.

RedMonk Language Ranks
1JavaScript
2Java
3PHP
4Python
5C#
6C++
7Ruby
8CSS
9C
10Objective-C
11Perl
12Shell
13R
14Scala
15Go
BuiltWith Top 10k - Frameworks
1PHP
2ASP.NET
3J2EE
4ASP.NET Ajax
5Ruby on Rails Token
6Shockwave Flash Embed
7Ruby on Rails
8ASP.NET MVC
9Adobe Dreamweaver
10Classic ASP
11Adobe ColdFusion
12Express
13DAV
14Django CSRF
15Telerik Controls

Ruby and JavaScript dominate the Aptible sample, which makes sense because Aptible is used primarily to deploy web apps and mobile APIs. PHP is also popular, as it is on the open web. Java and PHP are used less frequently on Aptible than on the open web. To speculate, this may be because many Aptible apps were built recently, whereas top 10k sites may be older, with more legacy code.