C Leads, Java Slips, C++, C# and R Climbing Fast in TIOBE Rankings

The results of the September TIOBE Programming Community index are in, and the C language tops the list again with a slight uptick from August of last year (15.95% rating), and Java comes in second (13.48% rating) with a worrying 3.18% slip over last year. Python, C++, C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, PHP, R, and SQL round out the top ten.

Their actual rankings notwithstanding, three languages in that group are showing sharp upward momentum that's worth noting. C++ showed the fastest increase in popularity (1.48% over last year), with R (up 1.33%) and C# (up 118%) keeping pace.

"I think that the new C++20 standard might be one of the main causes for this," said TIOBE Software's CEO Paul Jansen, in a statement. "Especially because of the new modules feature that is going to replace the dreadful include mechanism. C++ beats other languages with a positive trend such as R (+1.33%) and C# (+1.18%). On the other hand, Java is in real trouble with a loss of -3.18% in comparison to last year."

Java has lived at the top of TIOBE's monthly popularity ratings chart, well, since the ratings were first published. But it slipped in 2017, earning an "all-time low score." And to varying degrees, rumors have fueled expectations of further slippage (and even its demise) ever since.

TIOBE Software ( ) has been publishing the results of its monthly search for the languages in which the most lines of code were written since 2001. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, language courses, and third-party vendors, the company says. TIOBE uses 25 search engines to collect key words from the highest ranked websites of Web traffic monitor Alexa ( ) and calculates the most lines of code written in a given month to determine its percentage share of developers' attention.

"It is important to note that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written," the company has said on its website. TIOBE publishes its search criteria on its website ( ).

TIOBE also provides ranking details, such as a complete list of the top 50 programming languages for the month, languages ranking #51 to #100, and a Very Long Term History, which shows a "bigger picture" list of the average positions for a period of 12 months of the top 10 programming languages going back to 1985 (in five-year increments). And there's an annual programming Hall of Fame, also published on the website.

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].