Java Still Top Language in an Increasingly Polyglot World

The language popularity monitors at TIOBE Software say their June Programming Community Index is something of a milestone: for the first time in the history of the Index, a language needed a rating of more than 1.0 percent to be part of the top 20. What this means, TIOBE says, is that the number of real market leaders is declining.

What that means is the number of languages in use today is growing as more and more "less well-known" languages are being adopted.

"About 10 years ago, the first eight language covered 80 percent of the market," Tiobe said in its latest popularity report, "now this is reduced to 55 percent. This phenomenon is also called the long tail, a term that has been popularized by Chris Anderson of Wired in 2004."

Java held the top spot again this month. (TIOBE crowned the venerable OO language "Programming Language of 2015," and it has remained the most popular through 2016.) And by "popular," TIOBE means the language in which the most lines of code have been written. The company considers the number of skilled engineers world-wide using the language, courses available on it, and third party vendors touting it. It uses Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu, among other resources to calculate the ratings.

Java scored a rating of 20.794 percent, which is an increase of 2.97 percent over last month. Second place went to C with a rating of 12.376 percent, down 4.41 percent. C++ came in third with 6.199 percent, down 1.56 percent.

The list of languages in the top 20 included Python, C#, PHP, JavaScript, Perl Visual Basic .NET, Ruby, Swift and Objective-C. The top 50 list included a long list of languages that scored less than 1 percent, including Scratch, Dart, Groovy, Lisp, Scala, Lua, Haskell, Prolog, Awk, Erlang, Go and Bash.

Java also topped the Pypl Popularity of Programming Language index for June, with a 23.9 percent share. It was followed by Python, PHP, C# and JavaScript. The Pypl index is derived from analysis of the frequency with which language tutorials are searched for on.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].