Visual Basic.Net on the upswing with developers

Microsoft programming language climbs into the top 10 of monthly Tiobe language popularity index

Although programming languages such as Java, Objective-C, and JavaScript garner the lion's share of attention these days, don't count out Microsoft's Visual Basic .Net (VB.Net), which has been on a mostly upward trend in the Tiobe language popularity index.

For the first time ever, VB.Net cracked the Tiobe Index's 10 most popular languages, grabbing the 10th spot in February with a 1.798 percent share. The language's placement was surprising because many software engineers have refused to migrate to VB.Net, the successor to the "well-beloved, classic Visual Basic 6.0 version," Tiobe said. It also was unexpected because Microsoft seems to have slowed down development of VB.Net. "For example, the latest Visual Studio version 2013 doesn't contain any new VB.net language features," Tiobe said.

"Sometimes I am surprised to see that there is still such a large community for some languages. Take classic Visual Basic. There are still a lot of fans around. Today I received another mail from such a fan," Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen said.

However, this month's share for VB.Net was less than the 1.969 percent share it claimed last November or the 1.844 share in October. But the general trend is up, Jansen said, following January's figure of 1.557 percent. Tiobe used to group VB.Net with classic Visual Basic. "Now that VB.Net is treated as a separate entry it shows a steady growth," Tiobe said. Jansen previously has speculated that improved fortunes for Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile platform were boosting Microsoft programming languages.

Tiobe's index is based on searches pertaining to specific languages on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, and other sites. Specifically, ratings are assessed on the number of skilled engineers, courses, and third-party vendors pertinent to a specific languages. C again topped the index with an 18.334 percent rating, again followed by Java with a 17.316 percent rating. Objective-C was third (11.341 percent), followed by C++ (6.892 percent), C# (6.450 percent), PHP (4.219 percent), Visual Basic (2.759 percent), Python (2.157 percent), and JavaScript (1.929 percent).

The alternative Pypl Popularity of Programming Language Index, which analyzes how often language tutorials are searched on in Google, had Java in its top spot with a 26.1 percent share, followed by PHP (13.5 percent), Python (10.2 percent), C# (10 percent), and C++ (8.6 percent). Rounding out Pypl's top 10 were C (8.2 percent), JavaScript (7.9 percent), Objective-C (7 percent), Ruby (3.1 percent), and Visual Basic (3.5 percent).

A third measurement, the RedMonk Programming Language Rankings, is produced about twice a year. For January, the RedMonk rankings are as follows: JavaScript, Java, PHP, C#, Python, C++, Ruby, C, Objective-C, and CSS.

RedMonk looks at the number of tags associated with a specific language on Stack Overflow, as well as the number of GitHub repositories pertaining to a language. Tags on Stack Overflow are keywords or labels used to categorize questions about languages. "We believe by and large the more tags associated with a given language, the more interest in discussion of that language," RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady said.

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