Make room, Java: New languages take a slice of the pie

The usual suspects -- Java, C, Python, JavaScript, Perl -- still rule the Tiobe index, but Scala and TypeScript take a seat at the table

Make room, Java: New languages take a slice of the pie

The ongoing development of more and more languages is impacting the most widely used languages, which find their popularity decreasing in the Tiobe language index.

Choice and the growing number of programmers are likely driving the development of new languages, said Paul Jansen, managing director at software quality services vendor Tiobe. “There is a huge amount of programming languages available nowadays, and more and more people are into programming. As a consequence, communities for lesser-known languages such as Kotlin or Clojure or Hack are getting big enough to survive and flourish.” While some languages will be discontinued, most will survive, Jansen anticipates.

However, this month’s language again has Java taking its top spot, with a rating of 20.79 percent, followed by C (12.38 percent). Risers include Python, which jumped from fifth last month and sixth a year ago to fourth this month, with a rating of 3.9 percent, although it was actually 0.10 percent down from a year ago. JavaScript, ranked ninth a year ago, was ranked seventh this month (2.58 percent), while Perl, ranked 12th in June 2015, came in eighth place (2.40 percent). The language recently received a long-awaited upgrade.

Scala, a functional and object-oriented language originating on the JVM, is trending positively, said Jansen. “This is one of the few languages that might get a permanent top 20 position,” he said. It was ranked 30th this month (0.61 percent).

He also sees growth for TypeScript, Microsoft’s superset of JavaScript. “A language that is adopted by more and more customers of ours is TypeScript,” Jansen said. “Strange enough, we don't see any significant change in its Tiobe index position.” It is ranked 185th this month. Cobol, meanwhile, reentered the top 20 this month (1.08 percent), while Groovy, ranked 26th (0.84 percent) dropped off, said Jansen.

Other languages at the top of Tiobe’s rankings include C++, ranked third (6.20 percent) and C#, in fifth place (3.79 percent). Ruby, ranked eighth last month, came in 10th place this month (2.34 percent).

Tiobe’s monthly index measures language popularity through a formula that assesses searches related to different languages in popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. “The set of languages to choose from is getting bigger, and more and more less well-known programming languages are being adopted. About 10 years ago, the first eight languages covered 80 percent of the market; now this is reduced to 55 percent,” a report accompanying this month’s index said.

In the alternative Pypl Popularity of Programming Language index, which examines searches on language tutorials in Google, Java was tops with a 24 percent share, followed by Python (12.4 percent), PHP (10.6 percent), C# (8.9 percent), and JavaScript (7.5 percent). This is the same placement these five languages had in last month’s PyPL index.

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