C and Java each claim the top spot in dueling language popularity indexes

Tiobe, PyPL disagree on hottest languages, respectively basing criteria on Web page totals vs. number of searches on a language

Dueling language popularity assessments cite C and Java as the most popular programming languages this month.

The established Tiobe Programming Community Index, which determines popularity by assessing Web page totals pertaining to a specific language, has C as this month's most popular language, rated at 17.855 percent estimated market share. It is followed by Java, with 17.417 percent.

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Meanwhile, the new PyPL Popularity of Programming Language Index, which analyzes Google searches on language tutorials, has Java as the top language, with 30.5 percent, followed by PHP at 15.4 percent. C ranks fifth on the PyPL index, with 9.2 percent. PHP only turns up in sixth place on the Tiobe index, with 5.546 percent.

"The Tiobe [index] in my view doesn't give [an] adequate view of popularity of a programming language," said Pierre Carbonelle, founder of the PyPL index, which is posted within the pyDatalog website. The Tiobe index, Carbonelle said, looks at pages available, while Pypl counts the number of people actively searching those pages.

Tiobe's Paul Jansen defended Tiobe's methodology. "It is true that we are a lagging indicator because we measure the number of pages available. If a page has been created 10 years ago and it still can be looked up, it counts for us. PyPL tracks demand for pages, whereas we track availability of pages. On the long term this is about the same because if there is no demand, there will be no availability and vice versa." Tiobe also does not rely simply on Google; it also factors in such sites as Yahoo and Wikipedia.

Tiobe has Objective-C as its language of the year for the second consecutive year, with the language in 2012 again gaining the most market share, and it ranks third in the Tiobe January index, with a 10.283 percent share. Objective-C is the language of choice for developing Apple iOS applications, thus boosting its prominence. PyPL, though, calls C# its language of the year and gives a nod to Python, as well. "Over a five-year period, Python is the language whose popularity is growing the fastest; it is already the second most popular in the U.S.," PyPL said.

Rounding out the top 10 in Tiobe's index for the month were C++ (9.140 percent) and C# (6.196) in fourth and fifth place, Visual Basic in seventh place at 4.749 percent, Python (4.173 percent), Perl (2.264 percent), and JavaScript (1.976 percent). For PyPL, C++ was third with 10.4 percent while C# was fourth at 10.1 percent. Python was in the sixth spot (8.8 percent), followed by JavaScript (7.4 percent), Visual Basic (3.5 percent), Ruby (2.6 percent), and Perl (2 percent).

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