Python is again number one on the TIOBE Programming Community Index, which ranks the popularity of programming languages. The top two programming languages of February 2023 are Python and C.
“Python is great for data mining, AI programming, statistical programs, research projects, websites, small glue programs, and learning to program,” said Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software, in the monthly report. “The second language, C, is the best language for writing small, embedded, security-critical, high-performance programs.”
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Third on this list is C++, with an amazing year-over-year increase of 5.93% – that’s a very big jump compared to about 1% year-over-year growth for the other most popular programming languages. With all the requirements of C, but more suitable for writing a large software system, C++ proves that it is still a juggernaut in terms of awareness among professional developers.
C++ won the TIOBE Programming Language of the Year Award for 2022; Python had won the previous two years, swapping places with C every few years since 2017. C++ last took first place in 2003.
Other findings from February 2023
Other notable findings in the February 2023 TIOBE index include C++ and Java swapping their third and fourth places, and SQL has moved up from eighth to tenth over the past year.
Behind Python’s significant rating of 15.49%, up 0.16%, C is at 15.39%, up 1.31%. It was followed by C++ at 13.94%, up 5.93%, and Java at 13.21%, up 1.07%.
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Two lesser-known programming languages, Scratch and Rust, have grown significantly in popularity and received a special mention in the index’s February update. These stand out for their specificity, Jansen said.
“It’s important to understand that each programming language has its own strengths and weaknesses and usually excels in certain domains,” he said. “Take for example the 2 new fast growing languages in the TIOBE index top 20: Scratch and Rust. Scratch is intended for learning programming and is very popular in primary and secondary schools, while Rust is a safe and high-quality programming language for experts. In other words, they serve different purposes.”
What is the TIOBE Community Index?
The TIOBE Programming Community updates the index once a month. Ratings are determined by their community of engineers, courses, and third-party vendors, but popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, and Baidu are also used to calculate the ratings. TIOBE notes that the index does not measure “the best” programming language or the language in which the most lines of code are written, the company said. Rather, it is a measure of general popularity and notoriety.
TIOBE positions its index as a good tool to check whether a professional programmer’s skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about which programming language one should use when building a new software system.
Updates at the end of 2022
In the time between our last look at the Index and February 2023, the most important change is that there is more attention for high performance systems, Jansen said in an email. This is evidenced by the growth in C++, which gained +3% to climb to position #3 in the index, and Rust, which entered the top 20 in the past six months.
August 2022: Python ‘goes through the roof’
Python remains the TIOBE Programming Community Index, which ranks the popularity of programming languages. Python gained another 2% in August and now has an all-time high of 15.42% market share, making it “unstoppable,” according to the site.
It’s not easy to find an area of programming these days where Python isn’t used extensively, noted Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software. Python’s main appeal lies in its ease of use, he said.
“Most languages have a steep learning curve, except Python,” Jansen said. “That’s why many newcomers start programming Python. It is simple, well structured, easy to install and many libraries are available. So all non-critical programming stuff can be easily done by Python. That’s what makes it so popular these days.”
But Jansen added that “there’s a ceiling to Python somewhere” because it’s dynamically typed and too slow. “Because it’s an interpreted language that can cause an unexpected runtime error, it’s not likely to get into security-critical systems anytime soon,” he said.
This is why C and C++ are now gaining momentum, Jansen said.
June 2022: Top 3 continue their dominance
In the June 2022 edition of the TIOBE index updatelittle change remained at the top of the rankings, as Python, C, and Java maintained their stranglehold on the top three.
“Not much happened in the TIOBE index last month. The top 4 languages Python, C, Java and C++ now together have a market share of almost 50%,” says Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE. “We’re halfway through the year and the top contenders for TIOBE’s Language of the Year 2022 so far are Python, C, C++, and C#.”
Most of the movement came towards the bottom of the rankings, as Fortran and MATLAB re-entered the top-20, displacing Lua and Prolog. Both Lua and Prolog fell significantly in the May edition rankings, with Lua dropping six places to 24, while Prolog dropped from the top-20 last month to 25th in June. In the middle of the rankings, programming language R also saw a big drop, from 13 last month to 19 in June.
Classic Visual Basic benefited from the most falling Rs, jumping from 15 to 13 in the last 30 days. Ruby also saw an increase in June’s standings, jumping from 19th to 15th as part of the shakeup.
“Not much happened in the TIOBE index last month,” says Jansen. “We don’t foresee any of the relatively new and popular languages like Rust, Dart, Kotlin or TypeScript approaching the top 20. Let’s hope for more exciting news in August.”
May 2022: C# ready to jump into the top 3?
Although there was not much movement from April 2022 to May 2022, C# seems to be gaining steam as a programming language. C# was selected by TIOBE CEO Paul Jansen as a contender to make a move into the top-3 rankings by replacing C, which currently ranks 2nd in the May rankings. Another contender to make it to the top of the stack was C++, which currently ranks fourth in the top-20.
“Comparing the current TIOBE index ranking to 1 year ago (May 2021), C# becomes by far the most popular of all programming languages. The ranking is up almost 2% in the past 12 months. C# is one of the most mature programming languages out there and supports many modern programming paradigms,” said Jansen. “Until recently, the only drawback was that support for Linux was questionable, but that’s changing rapidly in recent years. Chances are so great that C# enters the top 3 of the TIOBE index by replacing C. Another serious contender for this top 3 position is C++.The long-term trend, boosted by C++20, is definitely up.”
One minor change from April to May was that R dropped a bit in the rankings, from 11th to 13th. Jumping into those lost spots were Delphi/Object Pascal (11th) and Swift (12th). Elsewhere, the rankings remain relatively the same except for a few minor tweaks, but it remains to be seen whether C# or C++ can displace C in the top 3.
April 2022: MATLAB drops in ranking
The April edition of the TIOBE programming language index the most popular programming languages underwent some marked changes across the board, with MATLAB in particular continuing to drop out of the top 20 rankings. In March, MATLAB was ranked the 15th most popular programming languages for developers before dropping to the 20th spot this month. Python remains the best programming language, according to Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE.
MATLAB’s steady decline
The biggest takeaway from the April rankings is the continuous slide of MATLAB, the programming language best known for use in matrix manipulations, plotting functions and data, implementing algorithms, creating user interfaces, and interfacing with programs running in other languages are written. MATLAB includes features and developments for multiple disciplines through MATLAB Add-On Toolboxes. Some Toolbox examples for MATLAB include 5Gcommunication analysis and testing, and audio.
“MATLAB is about to drop out of the top 20 for the first time in more than 10 years,” said Jansen. “The MATLAB programming language is mainly used in the domain of numerical analysis. It is often combined with Simulink models, which are from the same MathWorks company. Although MATLAB has a bi-annual release cycle, the language doesn’t evolve that much. And since MATLAB licenses are quite expensive, alternatives are quickly catching up.”
The alternatives mentioned by Jansen are becoming too much for MATLAB to compete with, as the rivals include the powerhouse Python, which is once again the leading programming language, and Julia, which focuses on numerical analysis. Julia goes from 32 to 26 in the April edition of the TIOBE Index.
Winners and losers
Python not only maintained its number one programming language ranking from last month, but also saw the largest increase in usage from April 2021 to 2022: a 2.88% year-over-year increase, moving from the third most used language to number one.
Elsewhere in the ranking, PHP dropped two places from the March ranking, from 8th to 10th place. Due to PHP’s small drop, assembly language was able to take 8th place in the TIOBE index, while SQL rose from 10th to 9th.
Another uptick, this time on the outside of the top 20, was Visual FoxPro, which rose four places from 27th to 23rd. Visual FoxPro is a data-centric procedural programming language with object-oriented programming features.
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