Which programming languages do developers love and hate the most? That’s a much-debated (and much-analyzed) topic, and Stack Overflow’s latest developer survey offers additional fodder for discussion.
Stack Overflow’s survey is a comprehensive one, with more than 100,000 developers participating worldwide. And of those tech pros, some 89.9 percent said they “dreaded” using Visual Basic 6, followed by COBOL (84.1 percent), CoffeeScript (82.7 percent), and VB.NET (80.9 percent). “Most dreaded means that a high percentage of developers who are currently using the technology express no interest in continuing to do so,” Stack Overflow explained in a note accompanying the data.
And what languages are most-loved? Rust tops that particular list, with 78.9 percent, followed by Kotlin (75.1 percent), Python (68 percent) and TypeScript (67 percent). This is Rust’s third year at the top of Stack Overflow’s list, and the first appearance of Kotlin.
Doom and Dread
In February, the TIOBE Index suggested that Visual Basic was headed rapidly for obsolescence. “Last week Mads Torgersen of Microsoft announced that they will stop with the co-evolution strategy of C# and Visual Basic,” read the firm’s analysis. “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 first predicted Visual Basic’s demise two years ago, suggesting that the platform had a “bad image” among expert developers. That dovetails neatly with Stack Overflow’s findings about Visual Basic 6 being a “dreaded” language.
It’s also no surprise that many developers dislike COBOL, a 59-year-old programming language perhaps best-known for powering mainframe applications, and has experienced steadily declining popularity over the past few decades.
For developers, the good news is obvious: as certain languages decline, others rise to take their place. For every language you might dread using, there are likely others that can get the same job done—and a bit more easily, too.