If you had any doubt about which languages will power the next generation of apps, November’s update to the TIOBE Index should provide some strong clues: Swift and Go made aggressive year-over-year gains in the rankings, with both climbing several spots.
Swift is Apple’s next-generation language for iOS and macOS apps; Go was developed by Google, and it’s found a home among enterprise and industrial applications (Docker, which allows sysadmins and other tech pros to launch Linux containers, was built in Go; so was the Kubernetes platform).
As usual, older languages hold their place on the TIOBE list, thanks in large part to legacy applications. Objective-C, Swift’s predecessor, also rose over the past 12 months (from 19th place to 11th), no doubt powered by continuing interest in building apps for the various Apple platforms. And at the very top of the rankings, Java, C, C++, and Python hold their usual places.
In 2019, it will be interesting to see whether other, somewhat-nascent programming languages make similar climbs into the upper echelons of TIOBE’s list. One language in particular to watch is Kotlin, which Google named a “first class” language for Android development. Despite that push from Google (and previous highlighting by TIOBE), Kotlin sits in 41st in the TIOBE rankings; but that could always change.
TIOBE bases its popularity ratings on data from a number of aggregators and search engines, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon. In order for a language to qualify for the list, it must be Turning complete, have its own Wikipedia entry, and earn more than 5,000 hits for +”<language> programming” on Google.
Other programming-language rankings have cited Swift and Go as up-and-comers, including the one compiled by analyst firm RedMonk and the PyPl Index (which is built by analyzing how often language tutorials are searched for on Google). These will clearly be “hot” languages over the next year, although they seem unlikely to conquer general-purpose, ultra-popular languages such as Python anytime soon.