Hipsters Ruined Ruby, But It’s Fine Now: TIOBE

According to the latest TIOBE index, Ruby is climbing back into the mainstream after being ditched by hipsters, and that could be good news for developers.

TIOBE reminds us it once awarded Ruby its “Language of the Year” honor. That was 2006, when the Rails framework was released, and all was right in the world of back-end web development. After a decade of obscurity, the Ruby language was coming into its own.

As TIOBE points out, this trend peaked in 2008, “but then all hipsters moved to a new language and Ruby dropped to one third of its popularity.” This dip lasted almost a decade; now TIOBE says Ruby is slowly climbing back – which is a good thing:

The fact that it is getting more popular so gradually is a good sign. This means that its increase in popularity is structurally instead of being pushed by hypes.

Ruby now sits in the ninth spot on TIOBE’s monthly index, up from the 12th position year-over-year. It has been used 0.49 percent more in that time, and used in 2.744 percent of all TIOBE-tracked programming languages overall.

If TIOBE’s take is accurate, it’s the Rails framework that really drives Ruby long-term. There’s good reason to buy into that idea: ‘Ruby on Rails’ is essentially a colloquial term for Ruby itself. (Similarly, JavaScript – another dependency-dependent language – has firmly planted itself in the TIOBE top-ten at the eighth spot.)

Ruby’s longer tail tells us the number-nine spot on TIOBE’s list just might be where the language settles, too. TIOBE looks at historical data to determine a language’s average monthly position. Save for a turn at the 19th spot in 2003, Ruby’s average placement has long been ninth – exactly where it sits this month.

Speculatively, the language may be experiencing a boomerang effect. No reason was given for why hipster-programmers would move away from it in 2008, but that was around the time Apple released its iOS SDK. There may be nothing more hipster than having jumped from web to native in the early iPhone days.

4 Responses to “Hipsters Ruined Ruby, But It’s Fine Now: TIOBE”

  1. Catherine

    I actually wonder about the credibility of this job portal. I have never ever got a reply from any of the jobs i have applied, whether it is a rejection or anything.Nothing at all.

  2. Fairweather

    True full stack developers focus on the languages they love and the reasons they love using them. Just as one poster mentioned, the up and down tick of “popularity” is just like anything else that “trends” with humans. One day red is the color of interest, the next it’s blue. Ruby is a great language and was designed with certain programmers in mind. Developers should focus on the tools they love using and make awesome things from them. Let the industry do what they want. What would Steve Jobs or a young Bill Gates or Paul Allen have done? What would a Zuckerberg or Bezos or Musk do? They’d follow what they find most interesting and let others come chase after them…don’t let the industry define you and what you choose to learn.