Python gains the upper hand against Perl, PHP, and Ruby

Java retains the top spot in the monthly Tiobe index of language popularity, but its momentum is slowing

Java is down a bit while Python continues to shine in this month's Tiobe language index, which measures popularity based on language searches in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube.

The index has Java still in the top spot but with a rating of 21.145 percent, slightly behind last month's 21.465 percent rating. "The ratings of the Java programming language started to climb at the end of 2014 and continued until last month," a report accompanying the index states. "The Tiobe programming language of the year 2015 clearly has some struggles to continue its [rise] in 2016 This [is] unlike other programming languages such as Python and C++ that appear to grow in the short term."

"I don't know why [Java's slip] happened," Paul Jansen, managing director of software quality services provider Tiobe, said in an email. "Note that we can see a little bit in the future, and there we see that the dip will continue a bit. For the midterm this could be the case because Android's growth seems to stabilize too." Java is used in developing Android applications.

For Python, Jansen sees it winning out against rival dynamic languages. In eighth place a year ago, Python was in fifth place in this month's index with a rating of 4.18 percent. It had a rating of 3.854 percent last month and finished fifth. In December, Python scaled as high as fourth place, with a 4.429 percent rating.

"Python seems set to become the eventual winner of the battle between dynamic languages Perl, Ruby, PHP, and Python," Jansen said. Python, he said, "is everywhere nowadays. Both Java and Python are the primary languages in which students learn to code. It is indeed about ease of use and ease [for Python]." Python also is doing well in the alternative Pypl Popularity of Programming Language index, finishing second behind Java this month with a share of 11.9 percent.

Perl is on an uptick as well in the Tiobe index, almost certainly buoyed by the recent release of version 6 of the language. It came in eighth place this month, with a 2.251 percent rating, up from the 12th spot a year ago, with a rating of 1.391 percent. Another gainer was the D language, going from 30th place a year ago to 21st last month to 15th this month, with a rating of 1.391 percent. "There is no clear reason for this jump, but D hit the top 20 also some years ago," said Jansen.

Rounding out the top four in this month's Tiobe index behind Java were C, in second place with a rating of 15.594 percent, C++ (6.907 percent) and C# (4.4 percent). The PyPL index, which devises ratings based on analyzing how often language tutorials are searched on in Google, had Java scoring a 24.2 percent share, followed by Python, PHP (10.7 percent), C# (8.9 percent), and C++ (7.6 percent).

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