C++ Regaining Its Popularity, According to TIOBE

C++ is an immensely popular programming language, regularly appearing near the top of various language rankings. The idea that it would rapidly fall into disuse is ridiculous—there are literally decades of legacy code out there written in it, and legions of students learn it every year.

Nonetheless, the TIOBE Index—a particularly notable programming-language ranking, if only because it reliably sparks a good deal of argument among developers every month—suggests that the popularity of this language softened a bit over the years before recovering.

“C++ is still far away from its popularity in the beginning of this century when it had a market share of more than 15 percent,” TIOBE wrote in the latest update to the Index, which placed the language in third place (just ahead of Python and behind C). “The complexity and the delay of releasing the new language definition C++0x pulled the language back at that time.”

Fortunately, the language climbed back. “That new language standard, eventually named C++11 after its release in 2011, has made the language much simpler, safer and more expressive at the same time,” the posting added. “It took some extra years before the C++11 standard was adopted because the community had to wait for proper compiler support. But now that the C++11, C++14 and C++17 standards are supported by the most important C++ compilers, i.e. Gcc, Clang and Visual Studio, the popularity of C++ is reviving.”

In order to generate its monthly rankings, TIOBE leverages data from a variety of aggregators and search engines, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon. For a language to rank, it must be Turing complete, have its own Wikipedia entry, and earn more than 5,000 hits for +”<language> programming” on Google.

The languages in the upper echelons of TIOBE’s rankings rarely budge much from month to month. The biggest swings take place much further down the list, where smaller languages such as Swift or Kotlin might experience huge year-over-year jumps (or dips). For example, Kotlin has been on quite the roller-coaster ride ever since Google named it a “first class” development language for Android.

If you’re interested in exploring this language, check out the Dice introductory breakdown of the C++17 standard, along with 5 cross-platform GUIs. Once you’ve gotten your programming legs under you, there are also articles on dealing with bugs and undefined behaviors. The best thing about an ultra-popular language is there are lots and lots of resources online to help you—no matter what kind of challenges you encounter.