Thursday, April 24, 2008

Popularity of programming languages

TIOBE Software Community Index provides us with an indication of the popularity of programming languages. How the rating works is by calculating the hits on search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and even YouTube. The number of hits determines the ratings of each language. The search query used is +" programming". You can read more about the index definition on their website.

I have been checking the website for a while now, and Java and C are the most popular (searched) languages. From the top 20, there were some languages that I did not even hear about, such as SAS, and only a few of them I ever used, like Java, C, C++, C#, a little of JavaScript, PL/SQL, and Lisp. From that list, my top 3 languages that I have never used and I would like to learn are Visual Basic, Ruby (on Rails), and ColdFusion (and more from Adobe if I were to have time). I remember reading something Martin Fowler agreed with once, namely that we should learn a new language each year. There are more functional and logical programming languages in the top 50 than in top 20. Will this change in the future? I doubt that. But I do expect some of those top 50 languages (between 21 and 50) will reach top 20 soon (especially the ones that deal with concurrency like Erlang since multi-processor programming will be the "next big thing" - pardon the cliche). Ralph Johnson wrote a great article about "Erlang, the next Java", how he entitles it: "Erlang is going to be a very important language. It could be the next Java".

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