Java shines brightest in language popularity

The enterprise platform again tops both the Tiobe and PyPL indexes thanks to changes that close the gap with functional programming languages

Java shines brightest in language popularity
Credit: LDFranklin/DeviantArt

Java's popularity keeps climbing and climbing.

Once again, Java leads both the Tiobe and PyPL indexes. But this month, Java climbed above a 20 percent rating in the Tiobe index, which gauges popularity based on a formula that assesses searches on languages in multiple search engines.

Java's rating was 20.403 percent, the first time it had reached a level exceeding 20 percent since July 2009. Java's Tiobe rating was 19.543 percent in October, and it has increased more than 6 percentage points in the past year. In the PyPL index, which assesses searches on language tutorials in Google, Java claimed a 24.4 percent share.

Tiobe said the recent JavaOne conference in San Francisco helped Java. Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen, who compiles the index, also sees Java's evolution as helping. "The Java language is changing nowadays, after having been at the same level for many years," Jansen said in an email. "It's closing the gap with functional programming languages -- e.g. with Java Streams -- thus making life much easier."

Java 8, unveiled last year, introduced a functional style to Java with lambda support. Tiobe also said that Java's use in Android mobile application development has boosted its popularity.

Again coming in second in Tiobe's index was the C language, with a 17.145 percent rating. "C is still the core language in all small devices," said Jansen. "Since the number of devices that is containing software is growing exponentially (even light bulbs have IP addresses nowadays), C remains very popular." Connected to C's fortunes was Assembly, which came in 11th place with a 1.883 percent rating, after ranking 29th a year ago. "The jump for Assembly is related to the popularity of C. Countries like China are developing a lot of small devices nowadays with software in it. That is either written in C or Assembly," Jansen said.

JavaScript was ranked seventh in Tiobe's index, with a 2.473 percent rating. "JavaScript is indeed a language that's used by many people, but never as a main language. It's the Web client-side language. So it's most of the times considered an add-on. I think JavaScript is a bit overrated in other indexes," said Jansen. PyPL also has JavaScript ranked seventh, but with a 7.1 percent share.

Objective-C, Apple's legacy language for iOS and Mac OS development, again ranked 14th with a 1.426 percent rating, slightly better than last month's 1.419 percent rating, but the language has lost 7.64 percentage points in a year. Its successor language, Swift, was ranked 15th, with a 1.236 percent share. Objective-C ranked 8th in the PyPL index with a 5.2 percent share, followed by Swift, with a 2.9 percent share.

Elsewhere in the Tiobe index, C++ finished third (6.198 percent rating) followed by C# (4.318 percent) and Python (3.771 percent). In the PyPL index, Python ranked second (11.3 percent share), following by PHP (10.9 percent), C# (9.1 percent), and C++ (7.7 percent).

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