Visual Basic is headed for obsolescence, according to the February update of the TIOBE Index.
“Last week Mads Torgersen of Microsoft announced that they will stop with the co-evolution strategy of C# and Visual Basic,” read the note accompanying the update. “This means that Visual Basic will fall behind if compared to new C# features. Let’s see whether Visual Basic can take this new punch and keep on surviving.”
TIOBE predicted Visual Basic’s demise two years ago, arguing that the platform has a “bad image” among expert developers. But thanks to legacy programming, at least a portion of the “newbies” that TIOBE claims are the only users of Visual Basic will presumably continue to use it for some years to come, ensuring at least some market-share.
In order to create its rankings, TIOBE leverages data from a variety of aggregators and search engines, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon. For a language to rank, it must be Turing complete, have its own Wikipedia entry, and earn more than 5,000 hits for +”<language> programming” on Google.
As usual, February saw relatively little movement in the top ranks of the Index: Java leads (as usual), followed by C, C++, Python, and C#. In sixth is Visual Basic .NET, up two ranks over the past year; Visual Basic sits in twelfth, up from sixteenth place in February 2017.
Further down the rankings is where the languages with smaller user-bases can experience radical swings in fortune. Oddly, popular languages such as Swift and Go have fallen year-over-year, although R—increasingly in use due to its utility in data analytics—enjoyed a climb to thirteenth from fifteenth place over the past year. But a language’s popularity at the moment likely reflects in no way on tech pros’ ability to do their jobs; whatever tool is right for the moment is the one they’ll end up using.
Editor’s Note: An earlier draft of this article accidentally referred to ‘Visual Basic’ in some instances as ‘Visual Studio.’ We really regret that error, which we blame on lack of coffee.