Unlike some other languages on this list, Objective-C’s decline falls under the category of “deliberate kill.” Although Objective-C has a very long and storied history as the platform for Mac OS X and iOS development, Apple began to feel it was time for a radical revamp.
That revamp came in the form of Swift, launched in the summer of 2014. Anxious to avoid breaking entirely with the past (which would have sent thousands of legacy developers marching toward Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, pitchforks and burning torches in hand), Apple ensured that Swift boasted compatibility with existing Cocoa frameworks and Objective-C.
Swift was also built for greater code resiliency, and addresses some of the performance and safety issues inherent in Objective-C. Apple made its new language open-source, starting with version 2.2. The consequence of all this, of course, is that Objective-C has tumbled in pretty much every programming-language ranking over the past year.
While Objective-C didn’t make Cogswell’s original list, it’s worth mentioning here as a language that is, most likely, dying.
We were also wrong about Ruby, which jumped nine slots on TIOBE’s most recent list (to ninth place). In addition, the language ranked high on RedMonk’s updated rankings, which are based on an analysis of GitHub and Stack Overflow.
Although some major platforms have stopped using Ruby as a development tool (Twitter, for example, switched its search front-end from Ruby on Rails to Java in mid-2011), the language evidently remains popular among developers.
Visual Basic .NET
While Visual Basic .NET ranked high on TIOBE’s list (where it managed to climb from 49th place in 2011 to seventh place this year), it’s dropped almost entirely from the one issued by RedMonk, suggesting that, while the language is still very much in use, developers are working and chatting about it less. (And to be fair, RedMonk advises that readers take its rankings with the skepticism due any sort of list.)
Created as a version of BASIC, with a coding schema heavily influenced by C#, Visual Basic .NET could have become much more ubiquitous, if only Microsoft (which built it) had opened it up more to cross-platform and open-source development. As it stands, C# ended up seizing developers’ hearts and minds instead. But that doesn’t mean Visual Basic .NET will fade away anytime soon.