Apple's Swift falls back to earth after initial surge

Apple's programming language dips in popularity after strong start, but is expected to even out in coming months

Initial enthusiasm for Apple's newly introduced Swift language appears to have died down somewhat, based on two monthly programming language popularity indexes.

The Tiobe Index for August had Swift dropping to its 23rd most-popular language; Swift was was ranked 16th in its first appearance in the index last month. In the PyPL Index of Language Popularity, Swift came in 11th place this month; it was slotted in the 10th spot in July. "I expect Swift to slow down a bit in popularity for a couple of months. This was just the initial hype," said Paul Jansen, managing director at Tiobe. "After that it will regain its popularity to an even higher level."

Tiobe assess language popularity through a formula that looks at searches pertaining to each language on sites such as Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and Yahoo. Ratings are based the number of engineers, courses, and third-party vendors pertinent to a language. PyPL analyzes the frequency of language tutorial searches in Google. Swift in the Tiobe index had a 0.668 percent rating this month, down from a 1.054 percent rating in July. In PyPL, Swift's share was 2.7 percent; it had a 3 percent share last month. In another barometer of language popularity -- the number of GitHub repositories focused on a specific language -- Swift continues to rise. The number has grown from 157 repositories in June to 260 last month to 306 repositories this week.

Apple introduced Swift on June 2 at its annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The language has been positioned as platform for building OS X and iOS applications and features advanced capabilities such as generics and closures.

Elsewhere in the Tiobe and PyPL indexes, rankings stayed much the same compared to July. Tiobe's top five were: C, with a 16.401 percent rating; Java (14.984 percent), Objective-C (9.552 percent); C++ (4.695 percent), and Basic (3.635 percent). This month's index debuts the separation of Visual Basic and Basic as separate entities. Last month's index had the same top four entrants, but Visual Basic was in the fifth spot. PyPL, meanwhile, ranks Java tops with a 26.7 percent share, followed by PHP (13.2 percent); Python (10.9 percent); C# (10.2 percent) and C++ (8.4 percent). Other than C++ overtaking C for the fifth spot, the PyPL index had the same top languages as last month.

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