Kotlin Accelerating in Usage, Buzz: RedMonk Rankings

Developer interest in Kotlin is accelerating, according to the latest data from analyst firm RedMonk.

A few times a year, RedMonk’s analysts sit down and rank programming languages according to usage and “buzz” (i.e., the amount of developer discussion). They do so by extracting language rankings from GitHub (for code/usage) and Stack Overflow (for discussion). In the boilerplate language that accompanies each new ranking update, the firm sums up its methodology thusly: “The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion and usage in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.” (There are some quirks to its system, such as excluding forked repos from its analysis, but RedMonk is very up-front about those.)

With this edition of the rankings, it seems that TypeScript and the aforementioned Kotlin are making noticeable gains. TypeScript, for instance, jumped four spots (landing in 12th place) to land behind Swift, itself a fast-growing language. “[TypeScript] certainly benefits from its JavaScript proximity, as well as safety features such as the optional static type-checking,” the firm explained. “But features alone are never enough by themselves to propel a language this far this quickly—it must be leveraged by a wide base of growing projects.”

A superset to JavaScript, TypeScript also offers a scalability that clearly appeals to developers working on large and/or fast-growing projects. It’s also been on the rise for quite some time; last year, GitHub’s Octoverse report suggested the growth in those contributing to TypeScript has exceeded Python, Go, and other notable languages.

But Kotlin is accelerating faster than even TypeScript, jumping a full eight spots since RedMonk’s last ranking update. Right now, it hovers in 20th place on the chart. “Kotlin’s growth has been second only to Swift in this history of these rankings so it will be interesting to see what lies ahead in the next run or two,” the firm added.

Kotlin has enjoyed increasing popularity ever since Google named it a first-class language for Android development. According to the Dice jobs database, job postings for Kotlin have risen over the past several quarters. That interest is clearly reflected in RedMonk’s rankings; the only question is how much higher Kotlin can climb over the next few years.