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Study: Language Choice Has Only a Small Impact on Code Quality

  • November 6, 2014
  • By Developer.com Staff

A new study conducted by computer scientists from UC Davis attempts to settle a long-term debate among developers: does the choice of a programming language impact code quality in a given project? The answer, according to the researchers, is yes, but that impact is very small.

The paper, titled "A Large Scale Study of Programming Languages and Code Quality in Github," analyzed 729 GitHub projects written in 17 different languages with 80 million lines of code and 1.5 million commits. They found that C, C++, JavaScript, Objective-C, PHP and Python tended to have slightly more errors than average, while Clojure, Haskell, Ruby, Scala and TypeScript were less likely than average to have bugs.

However, the report authors caution that the impact of the language choice was "quite small." Other factors, such as the size of the project and the size of the team, had a much bigger impact on code quality.

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