Google's Go language on the rise, but Dart is stalling

Java and JavaScript tie for first place in RedMonk's report that examines GitHub and Stack Overflow to rank languages

While Java and JavaScript co-lead in this month's RedMonk Programming Language Rankings, Apple's Swift and Google's Go are making headway with developers. But Dart, Google's heralded JavaScript rival, has stalled.

To calculate its rankings, RedMonk examines the number of tags associated with languages on the Stack Overflow developer site, along with the number of GitHub repositories for each language. For this report, the highest Stack Overflow tag count was for Java, at around 650,000, while JavaScript had the largest number of repositories on GitHub, with about 1.4 million. In the aggregate, the languages tied for first place.

Swift, which debuted June 2 as a follow-up to Objective-C, made its debut at number 68. "Depending on your perspective, this is either low for a language this significant or impressive for a language that is a few weeks old," said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady in his write-up on the rankings. "Either way, it seems clear that -- whatever its technical issues and limitations -- Swift is a language that is going to be a lot more popular and very soon."

The Go language, intended to offer speed and dynamic development, ranked 21st, moving up a spot from the last report, published in January. It is not unreasonable to expect it to be in the top 20 within six to 12 months, O'Grady said. But Google's other major language project, Dart, stalled in 39th place, the same spot as in January. It has not demonstrated the potential uptake that Go has, likely because JavaScript itself has sustained its own overwhelming popularity. Also in this month's report, the R language, for statistical analysis, has scored four consecutive gains and moved from 18th in January 2013 to 13th in the current rankings.

Following co-leaders Java and JavaScript in the rankings were PHP, Python, C#, C++ and Ruby (tied for sixth), CSS, C, and Objective-C. In other recent language popularity rankings based on examinations of Web searches, the Tiobe Index ranked C and Java as the most popular, while the PyPL index had Java and PHP in its top two spots. Declining in RedMonk's rankings, Perl dropped from 10th to 12th place. "While Perl was the glue that pulled together the early Web, many believe the Perl 5-versus-Perl 6 divide has fractured that user base and at the very least has throttled adoption," O'Grady said.

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