JavaScript, Java Top RedMonk’s New Language List

RedMonk has (finally!) issued the latest edition of its bi-annual programming-language rankings.

This time around, the analyst firm stuck to its usual process of evaluating programming languages. “We extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction,” read the explanatory note accompanying the data. “The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion (Stack Overflow) and usage (GitHub) in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.”

That being said, RedMonk had to adjust how it sources GitHub data. Whereas in past years it could access the necessary data via GitHub’s Explore page or the GitHub Archive public dataset on Google BigQuery, both those methods had gone defunct by mid-2016. After some tinkering with Google datasets and even a GH Torrent, RedMonk ventured back to the GitHub Archive, where it switched to querying languages by pull requests.

“The primary change is that the GitHub portion of the language ranking is now based on pull requests rather than repos,” the note added. “While this means we couldn’t replicate the rankings as they were before, the results were generally correlated with our past runs and were the best method available.”

RedMonk considers the visualization of its languages on an x/y axis as more relevant than any numerical ranking: “In many cases, one spot on the list is not distinguishable from the next. The separation between language tiers on the plot, however, is generally representative of substantial differences in relative popularity.”

With that in mind, here’s the visualization:

And here’s the numerical ranking, in descending order:

  1. JavaScript
  2. Java
  3. Python
  4. PHP
  5. C#
  6. C++
  7. CSS
  8. Ruby
  9. C
  10. Objective-C
  11. Scala
  12. Shell
  13. Swift
  14. R
  15. Go
  16. Perl
  17. TypeScript
  18. PowerShell
  19. Haskell
  20. Clojure
  21. CoffeeScript
  22. Lua
  23. Matlab

JavaScript and Java remain in the top spots on RedMonk’s list; PHP dropped one spot, while Python jumped up three. As usual with many programming-language rankings, the biggest action takes place further down the list: Swift has continued to rise, driven in large part by Apple’s determination to have developers use it in place of Objective-C, while TypeScript leapt a mind-boggling 17 spots, for reasons RedMonk apparently hasn’t had time to explore.

Rust, PowerShell, and Go likewise enjoyed significant gains. For the full breakdown of RedMonk’s methodology, as well as the placement of other languages, check out the firm’s posting.

Image Credit: dreamerve/Shutterstock.com

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