TypeScript: Quiet Winner Among Programming Languages

You have the languages that quietly build an audience without the benefit of huge conferences or famous advocates. TypeScript is such a language; it might not power a popular smartphone platform or dominate a particular industry niche, but its adoption rates are steadily creeping up, according to analyst firm RedMonk and other sources.

Contrast that with the languages that consciously manufacture an incredible amount of hype. For instance, Apple uses the full force of its glitzy marketing apparatus to promote Swift, its successor to Objective-C, and Google similarly uses I/O and other events to show off its feelings about Kotlin. For other languages, the hype hinges on a few independent influencers: Developers and startups with big followings use a language, love it, and rave about it on their various social platforms.

“The majority of the interest in Swift came immediately following Apple’s initial launch,” RedMonk’s James Governor wrote in a recent blog posting about TypeScript. “Similarly, Kotlin saw a spike in interest when Google added it as a first-class supported language for Android. TypeScript on the other [hand] is less spiky and possibly more sustained in that it’s not correlated with major vendor launches.”

What’s behind this slow, steady, quiet growth? According to Governor, it might have something to do with strongly typed languages, which, in his words, are “having a renaissance.” TypeScript is not only “tool-friendly,” but it’s particularly well-suited for work with the popular Angular web framework. What’s more, it offers more type safety, as well as usefulness in a broad range of niches (not just a particular company’s platforms or tools). 

Indeed, other sources back up this idea of TypeScript as a quiet champion. Last October, GitHub’s Octoverse Report placed TypeScript among its fastest-growing languages. “We’re seeing trends toward more statically typed languages focused on thread safety and interoperability. Kotlin, TypeScript, and Rust are growing fast this year,” GitHub stated at the time.

In summer 2018, TIOBE also called out TypeScript as cannibalizing JavaScript’s market-share. While you might disagree with how the TIOBE Index ranks the “popularity” of programming languages, its point about tech pros loving TypeScript for its scalability and versatility is echoed by other analysts and publications. 

As an open-source superscript to JavaScript, TypeScript is clearly on the ascendancy, even if it isn’t the focus of flashy keynotes that end up on the front of Google News. Nor is JavaScript, immensely popular as it is, going anywhere soon. If you’re unfamiliar with how TypeScript (or any “strongly typed” language) works, give it a look-see.  

4 Responses to “TypeScript: Quiet Winner Among Programming Languages”

  1. Justin Davis

    This is kind of a silly article. TypeScript is just a set of eztensions to JavaScript. It transpiles into JavaScript, which is what the system will actually run.

    TypeScript adds great stuff to JavaScript but it is totally dependent upon JavaScript. Talking about it cannibalizing JavaScript’s market share or displacing JavaScript is like saying that putting on a coat displaces all the clothes you were already wearing.

  2. PATKÓS CSABA

    Interesting discussion. What is the definition of a programming language? In my opinion the only thing that matters is the code you have to write. The programmer facing part.
    Otherwise, we can argue that 99% of the programming languages are just supersets on other languages. C/C++ compiles to ASM … so it is not a programming language. Kotlin, Scala, run on JVM, so they are just supersets of Java, not programming languages. And so on.
    So, if it has a different syntax, if it has a different paradigm, it is a different language. It doesn’t matter what it compiles to.

    • Totally agree. Why in 2019 we still have to discuss what’s define a programming language. compiled, transpiled, scripting or programming language. It’s been running for ages and it’s not relevant anymore nowadays. Ohh also, some people or companies are still debating if Javascript and Frond end development is part of software engineering. That’s ridiculous!