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The Rise and Fall of Programming Languages

Over the years we have covered the activity behind the popularity of programming languages. We have been using the well known TIOBE Index to analyze our findings on this matters.

There are times when the index has been volatile and filled with tension. Again there are times when the index has been as active as a bed of cabbages in the garden.

The notwithstanding we have some interesting activity this time around which has possibly been precipitated by the shift in the mobile development scene.

Basically, it comes as a challenge for developers to continually maintain diverse code bases just to keep their apps going on several platforms. Most notably iOS and Android.

The problem here arises from the fact that these two platforms are miles apart when it comes to the recommended programming language used to build apps on them. Android settled for Java as its preferred language from day one while iOS relies on Swift to get things tied together.

It was not but a few years ago when iOS apps were developed primarily using Objective-C. Years later it was gutted in favor of Swift. That saw a dramatic shift in the rankings behind Objective-C and now it seems month on month Swift has slowly been losing ground.

So what’s happening here? Well like we said earlier that developers may be finding smarter, cost-effective and more productive ways to develop and maintain their apps for an array of platforms.

This is is not easy when you have to shuffle between different programming languages and frameworks. Interesting enough frameworks have been the solution to the developers’ problem.

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With a well-crafted framework, developers are well placed to satisfy the notion that they thrive in laziness. The laziness here could be better explained as being more efficient and productive.

Over the years we have seen the maturity of cross-platform frameworks and based on languages such as JavaScript, C#, and C++. These are Apache’s Cordova and Ionic which are both based on JavaScript.

Then there is the ever-popular Microsoft’s Xamarin based on C++. We have also seen the Qt Framework based on C++, QML, and JavaScript.

These frameworks have made lives much easier and pleasant for developers who create apps for several platforms as they offer the developers an environment where they can write their code once and have it compiled for the various target platforms.

This is not only restricted to the mobile platforms as developers have found they can target Desktop, and Embedded Systems as well.

How do the Programming Languages Stack Up?

The impact of this month’s TIOBE rankings can be described in so many words but to summarize it all let’s take a look at the top twenty and compare them year on year.

Coming in at the bottom is Go having dropped four spots followed by PL/SQL which climbed up one place.

At number 18 is Visual Basic followed by Object-C and Swift comes in at position 16. R took a sharp climb, up three places to settle at 15th place behind Scratch which jumped a whopping nine spots.

Another big climber at thirteenth is MATLAB then Perl hanging in there at twelfth place.

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Delphi/Object Pascal made some significant gains but falls shy of the top ten and has to settle in at the eleventh spot.

At 10 is Ruby hot on the heels of Assembly Language which is comfortable at ninth behind Visual Basic.NET. There is no change in the rankings pecking order here on.

At number seven lies PHP followed by JavaScript, Python, and C# respectively. The top three remain C++, C, and Java.

C and Java though maintaining their spots at position two and one respectively has shown the largest drop in percentage points.

C has lost 1.46 points while Java has lost 6.37 points out of a hundred.

You can check out the full details of the programming languages ranking at the official TIOBE index page here.

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