Java and C continue popularity decline

Image: IDGNS

9 May 2017

Keep on moving over, Java and C. Other languages are closing the popularity gap. That is the gist of this month’s Tiobe index, which gauges language popularity based on a formula assessing search-engine activity. While still ranking number one and two in the index, Java and C continue to see their shares dwindle as other languages capture attention.

“Java and C are in a heavy downward trend since the beginning of 2016. Both languages have lost more than [six percentage points] if compared to last year,” according to report accompanying the index. Java’s rating is 14.639% this month, down 6.32 points, more than 30% from May 2016. The situation is even more dire for C; it declined 6.22 points from a year ago to 7.002%, a decline of nearly 48%.

“Since software is adopted by more and more domains nowadays, C (low-level software development) and Java (high-level software development) apparently don’t suffice anymore,” the report states. “To illustrate this point, a rating of 0.6% was sufficient to reach the top 20 in 2012. Nowadays this would put you at position 33.”

The top five languages for this month all show declines from May 2016, with third-place C++, rated at 4.751%, down 1.95 percentage points, followed by Python (3.548, -.24) and C# (3.457, -1.02). However, all but Java do show slight upticks from last month. Not until sixth place does a language show a year-over-year gain: Visual Basic .Net was rated at 3.391% this month, up 1.07 points.

Further down the list, PHP dropped from sixth to ninth place from last May to this May, with a share of 2.693%, down 0.3 point. Last month, it was also in sixth place, with a share of 3.376. “PHP used to be the web development language but nowadays a lot of other frameworks [on the client and server side] are taking over,” Paul Jansen, managing director of software quality services provider Tiobe, said. “So I am afraid PHP has had its days.” He said frameworks like Angular, Meteor, and Ruby on Rails are cutting into PHP’s popularity.

The R language, which placed 14th this month with a rating of 2.192%, up 0.86 point from a year ago when it was in 16th place, is a bright spot on the index. “Statistical programming is getting more and more important nowadays due to data mining,” Jansen said. “The R programming language appears to be the market leader in this area.”

Objective-C, viewed as the earlier technology for iOS mobile development as opposed to the newer Swift language, also grew from May 2016, posting a 2.101% share, up a half a point from a year ago. But Objective-C ranked 15 this month and 14th a year ago. Swift, for its part, placed 13th this month, with a 2.274% rating, an increase of 0.68 point from May 2016.

Finishing out the top 10 in Tiobe’s index were JavaScript, in seventh place with a rating of 3.071%, followed by Assembly in eighth place (2.859). Perl was rated in 10th place (2.602).

In the alternative PyPL Popularity of Programming Language Index, which assesses searches on language tutorials in Google, Java was in first place with a 22.7% share, followed by Python, with a share of 15.7%, then PHP (9.3), C# (8.3), JavaScript (7.9), C++ (6.9), C (6.7), Objective-C (3.8), R (3.6) and Swift (2.8).



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