The Hottest Programming Language? It’s All in How You Measure It

Susan Hall

Is Apple’s Objective-C the hottest programming language going or is it C#? Two polls of programming language popularity differ in their views.

TIOBE Programming Community Index for January names Objective-C the programming language of the year for 2012, but also notes the growth of C++ and Python.

Going forward, it predicts continued growth for Java (Android) and C++/C# (Windows Mobile), but also JavaScript and MATLAB, which it calls “the de facto standard for numerical computing the last couple of years.”

Here’s its top 10:

  1. C
  2. Java
  3. Objective-C
  4. C++
  5. C#
  6. PHP
  7. Visual Basic
  8. Python
  9. Perl
  10. JavaScript

Over at pyDatalog, however, its PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index finds C# the fastest-growing language of the year, but Python the leader over the past five years.

Its top 10 looks like this:

  1. Java
  2. PHP
  3. C++
  4. C#
  5. C
  6. Python
  7. Javascript
  8. Visual Basic
  9. Ruby
  10. Perl

The PyPL index, which tracks Google searches to pages with specific languages, while the Tiobe index measures the number of Web pages using a specific language, a measure that goes beyond just Google searches, as Computerworld points out.

It quotes Tiobe's Paul Jansen, saying:

It is true that we are a lagging indicator because we measure the number of pages available. If a page has been created 10 years ago and it still can be looked up, it counts for us. PyPL tracks demand for pages, whereas we track availability of pages. On the long term this is about the same because if there is no demand, there will be no availability and vice versa.

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