C jumps back to top of language popularity index

After losing the top spot to Java last month, C has regained the crown, while the refined index also finds gains for Transact-SQL and Cobol

The C language has again leapfrogged Java into the top spot in this month's Tiobe index of programming language popularity.

While Java finished on top last month, just ahead of C, this month's index had both languages gaining, but C gained enough to overtake Java. C turned up in 16.975 percent of hits per search engine versus 16.154 for Java. C had beaten Java in July, also.

The Tiobe Programming Community Index assesses language popularity by examining popular search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. "We count hits per search engine," Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen said. Ratings are officially based on the number of skilled engineers, worldwide courses, and third-party vendors pertaining to a particular language. In this month's index, Tiobe used Alexa website analytics in an attempt to select the best 25 best websites to use for the analysis.

This reconfiguring resulted in some significant findings, including a decline for Ruby and Perl. Ruby dropped from the 10th spot last month to 13th this month, while Perl declined from the 11th-most popular language to the 12th-most popular language. "Apparently Perl and Ruby were not as popular as we thought," said Jansen.

Meanwhile, Transact-SQL entered the top 10 for the first time, ranking 10th; it was rated the 12th-most-popular language in August. Cobol and R also made strides. "New in the top 20 are R and Cobol," said Jansen. "This is not really a surprise. R is the number-one statistical programming language at the moment, and Cobol still claims to have most lines of code written in it in existing commercial production systems." Cobol moved from 27th last month to 20th in the September report.

Ranking third in this month's index was C++ (8.664 percent), followed by Objective-C (8.561 percent) and PHP (6.43 percent). In the rival Pypl Popularity of Programming Language index this month, which looks only at searches on language tutorials in Google, Java finished first, with a 27 percent share, followed by PHP (13.9 percent), C (10 percent), Python (9.9 percent) and C++ (9 percent). "Python and JavaScript had the strongest growth in popularity in the last 12 months, according to the Pypl Popularity of Programming Language index. Java and C had the strongest decline, but Java remains the most popular language," Pypl said in its report on this month's index.

This story, "C jumps back to top of language popularity index," 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.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.