Apple's Swift climbs quickly in language popularity

Both the Tiobe and PyPL indexes see the new programming platform drawing plenty of attention

Swift, Apple's new programming language for iOS and OS X applications, has rocketed up the charts in two monthly tabulations of programming language popularity.

Introduced in early June, the language enters the July Tiobe Index at number 16 and did even better on this month's PyPL Popularity of Programming Language index, placing 10th. "Everybody is curious to know what this new language is about, especially because it has been developed by Apple," said Paul Jansen, Tiobe managing director. He speculates interest in Swift will remain high, unlike Google's Go language, which attracted a lot of interest in Tiobe's index when it was first released in 2009 but quickly dropped out of the top 100 for some time before bouncing back a bit to its present spot of 30th place.

"[Swift] itself is also nothing new, but in contrast to Go it serves a purpose, i.e. to supersede the outdated Objective-C language. New applications for iPhone and iPad will all be written in Swift eventually. So Swift will probably stay in the top 20 for a long while and has the potential to become a top 10 player." Swift, Jansen said, combines existing programming paradigms but has no new inventions.

The language already has received a lot of scrutiny from developers taking a look at issues like performance. And a blogger this week is citing supposed design mistakes pertaining to mutable and immutable arrays.

The quick high placements in the Tiobe index, which looks at Internet searches of languages on a number of sites, and PyPL, which looks at language tutorial searches in Google, further verify the level of interest in Swift. The language received a 1.054 percent share in the Tiobe index and a 3 percent share in PyPL. A search on language repositories in GitHub, meanwhile, finds 260 repositories pertaining to Swift. There were 157 repositories for Swift a month ago.

Placing first again in this month's Tiobe index was the C language (17.145 percent), followed by Java (15.688 percent) and Objective-C (10.294 percent). Rounding out the top five were C++ (5.52 percent) and Visual Basic (4.341 percent). Placing sixth to ninth were C# (4.051 percent), PHP (2.916 percent), Python (2.656 percent), JavaScript (1.806 percent), and Transact-SQL (1.759 percent).

PyPL's index saw Java take the top spot (26.9 percent), followed by PHP (13.2 percent), Python (10.7 percent), C# (10.2 percent), and C (8.2 percent). Placing sixth through ninth were C++ (8.2 percent), JavaScript (7.7 percent), Objective-C (6.7 percent), and Ruby (3.2 percent).

This story, "Apple's Swift climbs quickly in language popularity," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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