JavaScript in Trouble? TypeScript May Eat Its Lunch: TIOBE

July’s TIOBE Index update for programming languages doesn’t show much movement at the top of the rankings, but there are some upstart languages that are surging. One in particular – TypeScript – might even end up unseating JavaScript (JS).

JavaScript is a staid member of TIOBE’s top-ten. It’s currently in eight place – the same position it held this time last year. It’s popular, widely used, and extremely versatile.

TypeScript (TS) is a language developed by Microsoft, and is a superset to JavaScript. Open source, Typescript is billed as “JavaScript that scales,” and Microsoft goes to great lengths to hammer that point home. In a Build 2017 session titled “What’s new in TypeScript?,” Microsoft representatives spent several minutes opining that JS was never meant for its current scale.

TIOBE notes TypeScript (which debuted in 2012) cracked the top 100 for the first time last month. That is special enough, but since then (30 days, mind) it’s cracked the top 50. It’s making a dedicated run at JavaScript, and has some wind beneath its wings. From TIOBE:

Last month we announced that TypeScript entered the TIOBE index top 100 for the first time. TypeScript appears to keep growing in popularity. This month it entered the top 50. TypeScript is slowly becoming the new and improved JavaScript. One of the trends that was not mentioned in my last post is the rising popularity of Angular. Angular is the successor of AngularJS. The latter platform was based on JavaScript, but the new Angular is completely focusing on TypeScript. The other large JavaScript platform, React, didn’t adopt TypeScript yet, but this seems to be a matter of time.

JavaScript is massive, and sinking that ship is not going to be easy. TS has its fans, but it’s written differently, evidently to better serve IDEs and tools. It also features autocompletion. But it might not serve as a total stand-in for all of JavaScript’s complexity and issues.

We’ve seen languages rocket up TIOBE’s list before. Google’s Go language was in tenth place last year, and was named TIOBE’s ‘language of the year’ in 2016. It’s now in 18th place, and is trending down. It’s not clear if TypeScript is really going to hole JavaScript’s waterline, but given its ability to scale and better readability, it’s possible it will find many JavaScript fans ready and willing to jump ship.

Elsewhere, SQL has gone from not being ranked last year to ninth place, suggesting it’s going to join C languages, R, PHP and Python as mainstays in the top ten. Objective-C slipped into the top ten in June, when Apple held its WWDC conference, which is a celebration of Swift, Objective-C’s appointed successor. That its older, almost-deprecated language not only cracked the top ten but passed Swift (11th place) in the rankings is odd; TIOBE says it’s likely temporary, but it’s weird nonetheless.

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