Java loses no luster in popularity index

Once mired behind the C language in popularity, Java has regained its mojo and is expected to have bright future as it retains its top spot for the month

Java loses no luster in popularity index
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Java is coming off a banner year in language popularity indexes, and it looks to continue its momentum in 2016.

Named the Programming Language of the Year on the Tiobe index and scoring the largest increase in popularity, Java remains in the top spot for the first month of this year as well. Tiobe's index is calculated based on a formula assessing searches on languages in a variety of different search engines.

"At first sight, it might seem surprising that an old language like Java wins this award, especially if you take into consideration that Java won the same award exactly 10 years ago," said index author Paul Jansen, managing director of software quality services vendor Tiobe. "[But] Java is currently number one in the enterprise back-end market and number one 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." Java had been stuck in second place on the Tiobe index behind C for a year and a half until April 2015.

Java's rating on the index grew nearly 6 percentage points in 2015, and its share for January is 21.465 percent. It topped the alternative PyPL Popularity of Programming Language index this month as well, with a 24.4 percent share. PyPL measures popularity by analyzing how often language tutorials are searched on in Google.

Runner-ups behind Java for 2015 were Visual Basic.Net (an increase of 1.51 percentage points) and Python (1.24 percentage points). "I don't have a clue why VB.Net is increasing," Jansen said in an email. "I would expect that it will gradually go extinct, since there is no reason why one should adopt this language for a new software system, because C# is built upon the same intermediate language and much more powerful and with a much larger community." Python, he added, benefits from ease of use in creating small scripts.

Rounding out the top five in this month's Tiobe index behind Java were C (16.036 percent rating), C++ (6.914), C# (4.707), and Python (3.854). Finishing second to fifth in PyPL's index were Python (11.8 percent share), PHP (10.7), C# (8.9), and C++ (7.6).

Along with continued success for Java, Tiobe predicts a big year for PHP, thanks to the newly released version 7 of the language, which could erase a decline it saw in 2015. Tiobe also expects gains for JavaScript, Apple's Swift, and Scala, which provides functional programming on the JVM. "Scala might gain a permanent top 20 position, whereas Rust, Clojure, Julia and TypeScript will also move up considerably in the chart," Jansen said. Tiobe also sees Go, Hack, and Clojure about to enter its top 50 languages list.

This story, "Java loses no luster in popularity index" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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