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TIOBE Names Java 'Programming Language of 2015'

Whatever else you can say about the past year, 2015 was a good'n for Java. The language turned 20 with much fanfare and well-earned acknowledgement. (Oracle marked the anniversary with a great Web site. Java 8, with its game-changing support for lambda expressions, was adopted at a record-setting pace. And though the release of Java 9 was pushed back, modularization became real.

Now, at the start of 2016, Java gets an extra pat on the back from the industry watchers at TIOBE Software, who named the it "Programming Language of 2015." The reason: The language enjoyed the largest increase in popularity of the 50-plus languages tracked in the TIOBE Index. Java's popularity grew 5.94 percent last year, according to TIOBE, smoking the closest runners up. Visual Basic.NET grew in popularity by 1.51 percent, and Python grew by 1.24 percent.

"At first sight, it might seem surprising that an old language like Java wins this award," the TIOBE researchers wrote. "Especially if you take into consideration that Java won the same award exactly 10 years ago. On second thought, Java is currently No. 1 in the enterprise back-end market and No. 1 in the still growing mobile application development market (Android). Moreover, Java has become a language that integrates modern language features such as lambda expressions and streams. The future looks bright for Java."

TIOBE is a Netherlands-based provider of software quality assessment services based on the ISO 25010 standard. The company ranks the popularity of software languages based on "the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses, and third-party vendors." The purpose of the Index, the company says, is to provide coders with a kind of contextual yardstick with which to measure their own language skills against current demand.

Altogether, TIOBE ranks 50 programming languages, though it follows many more. The company emphasizes that the Index measures only the popularity of a language, not its actual quality (no "bests") nor the number of lines of code written in it.

TIOBE expects Java to continue to rank among the most popular languages in 2016, along with PHP, JavaScript and Swift. Scala, the functional programming language, could earn a permanent Top 20 spot, the company predicted, and Rust, Clojure, Julia and TypeScript are likely to "move up considerably on the chart." JavaScript earned the top spot last year.

BTW: That Oracle Web site is still worth a visit.

Posted by John K. Waters on January 7, 2016