“Java in a Nutshell” weighs in at 1264 pages. Matt Croyden, sez:
[Y]our programming language just might be complicated when you have trouble telling the difference between its Nutshell book and a telephone book.
[via James Robertson]
This is somewhat unfair, as the bulk of “JiaN” is a library reference, but it’s certainly true that Java and C# have grown more complex as they’ve evolved, while certain other languages (Lisp, Smalltalk) have seen continuing simplicity as a feature of the language.
I think that one force in play in the market for programming language popularity is pressure towards a “collapse toward simplicity.” It’s not the only force, in my opinion it’s not likely to be the major force, but it certainly played a part in the rise of Java. Of course, Java was equally an example of the force towards familiarity: it seemed quite like C++. Similarly, I think one reason why Ruby is currently the belle of the ball is its similarity to Perl.