Visual Basic hits the skids in language popularity

Author of the Tiobe monthly language popularity index sees both Visual Basic and Visual Basic .Net dropping from the top 10 within a year

Microsoft's Visual Basic is slipping in the Tiobe index of language popularity, and the index's author believes the trend will continue.

In this month's index, Visual Basic .Net is ranked in 10th place, down from seventh place in the March index but the same position as a year ago. Visual Basic dropped from 13th to 14th place from last month to this month; it had been ninth a year ago. Ratings for Visual Basic .Net and Visual Basic in April were at 2.273 percent and 1.607 percent respectively. While Visual Basic .Net is up 0.15 percent over April 2015, Visual Basic is down 0.59 percent.

Tiobe bases its ratings on an examination of how often languages are searched on in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Wikipedia, gauging the number of skilled engineers, courses, and third-party vendors pertinent to a language.

"Classic Visual Basic is going down, but also VB.Net is about to lose its top 10 position, which means that we are on the brink of no Basic language in the top 10 since we started tracking the Tiobe index," according to Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen. The index began in June 2001. "There are alternatives available, such as PureBasic (position #43), thinBasic (#77) and BBC Basic (#79), but their communities are still too small yet to compensate the declining popularity of Visual Basic."

In fact, Visual Basic has dropped from the top five to the top 10 in the past few years, Jansen said. "If we extrapolate this trend, then it will be out of the top 10 within a year. We saw the same move for Perl being a top three player and becoming a top 10 player about eight years ago."

Tiobe recalled that Basic, Cobol, and Fortan were once the dominant languages. Basic "survived" thanks to Microsoft's moves, including creating Visual Basic 6 and Visual Basic .Net, compatible with the company's .Net Framework. A website centering on Visual Basic 6 proclaims the continued vitality of that language, saying, "Many business have huge applications written in this great language. Many people learn this language as their first development language and many use it every day for work." Microsoft, for its part is moving away from aligning Visual Basic and C# features.

Elsewhere in this month's index, functional programming language Clojure cracked the top 50 for the first time, ranked 50th with a .204 rating; its rise came at the expense of Rust, Jansen said. The top five this month remains the same order as last month: Java (20.846 percent rating), C (13.905), C++ (5.918), C# (3.796), and Python (3.33).

In this month's PyPL Popularity of Programming language index, which examines how often languages are searched on in Google, the top five languages were Java, with a 24.1 percent share, followed by Python (12.3 percent), PHP (10.6 percent), C# (8.9 percent), and JavaScript (7.5 percent)

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