Java retakes the lead in language popularity

Recent security problems aside, Java moves past C in Tiobe's language popularity index thanks to its ties to Android development

Despite recent headlines about its security woes, Java has returned to the top spot in a monthly assessment of the popularity of programming languages, 10 months after being supplanted by the C language.

The Tiobe Programming Community Index again has Java as the most popular language. The company says Java's ties to Android mobile development are the reason for its recent good fortune. "Boosted by the success of Android phones, Java has gained most market share of all languages last half a year," Tiobe said.

[ Tiobe differs in its assessment methodology from a rival assessment, the PyPL Popularity of Language index. | Subscribe to InfoWorld's Enterprise Java newsletter for more news from the Java realm. ]

Java had a popularity rating of 18.387 percent for the month, followed by C at 17.080. Rounding out the top 10 were: Objective-C (9.803 percent), C++ (8.758 percent), C# (6.680 percent), PHP (5.074 percent), Python (4.949 percent), Visual Basic (4.648 percent), Perl (2.252 percent), and Ruby (1.752 percent). Python is rising and rivaling PHP to become the most-popular interpreted language, Tiobe said. Tiobe assesses popularity by examining language-related search activities in search engines like Google as well as on sites like Wikipedia. Ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, and third-party vendors.

When it comes to Tiobe's survey, at least, it appears Java's recent security woes, which mostly affect browser plug-in capabilities, have not had much of an effect on the language's popularity. Oracle last week released a patch intended to halt an active exploitation affecting the Java Runtime Environment.

Tiobe's ranking of Java in its top spot mirrors the PyPL Popularity of Language index for February. PyPL also lists Java in the top spot, with a 29 percent share. But afterward, the two indexes differ: PHP is the second-most-popular language in PyPL, with a 14.6 percent share, followed by C# (10.5 percent), Python (10.3 percent), C++ (9.8 percent), C (9.6 percent), JavaScript (7.5 percent), Visual Basic (3.8 percent), Ruby (2.9 percent), and Perl (1.9 percent). PyPL's index assess how often language tutorials are searched on in Google.

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