That in itself isn’t shocking; the programming languages occupying the top slots of the TIOBE Index and similar rankings have a way of staying there for quite some time, as thousands of developers would need to abandon them in order to cause any sort of noticeable dip. Such abandonment can take many years, as TIOBE helpfully pointed out.
“A very long time ago there were only a couple of dominant languages: COBOL, BASIC and FORTRAN,” read its note accompanying this month’s data. “Classic Visual Basic is going down, but also VB.NET is about to lose its top 10 position, which means that we are on the brink of no BASIC language in the top 10 since we started tracking the TIOBE index.”
TIOBE updates its rankings once a month; the order is based on search-engine data. In addition to having an entry on Wikipedia, each featured language must beTuring complete and earn at least 10,000 hits for +“<language> programming” on Google.
As with March, the TIOBE Index has seen substantial gains among programming languages further down the list, including Perl, Ruby, Assembly Language, Swift, Groovy, and D.
The rise of Swift is no surprise, given Apple’s determination to make it the official language of iOS and Mac OS X development. Objective-C, its predecessor, has accordingly tumbled in the ranks.
The other “rising” languages on TIOBE’s list, including Assembly Language and R, have their adherents within certain well-defined sub-industries, such as Big Data analytics. A language doesn’t necessarily have to be general-purpose to attain a certain degree of popularity; all it needs is fans among a dedicated set of programmers.