Python, TypeScript Perform Strongly on RedMonk Language Ranking

It’s that time of year again: analyst firm RedMonk has dropped its updated ranking of the world’s programming languages. This time around, Python and TypeScript are languages to watch—but why?

First, it’s worth exploring RedMonk’s methodology. “We extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction,” the firm states in its introduction to the rankings. “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.”

RedMonk always tries to avoid the suggestion that its rankings are purely a popularity context. “No claims are made here that these rankings are representative of general usage more broadly,” the introduction adds. “They are nothing more or less than an examination of the correlation between two populations we believe to be predictive of future use, hence their value.”

With all that being said, here’s RedMonk’s breakdown in handy list format:

And here’s the firm’s even-handier graph, which treats the GitHub rankings as the x-axis and the Stack Overflow ones as the y-axis:

What’s interesting here? Python continues to dominate. As other language rankings (such as TIOBE) have shown, the snake-y language has expanded beyond its origins as a “generalist” language and is now used in a variety of niche industries, such as data science. That versatility has translated into increased usage and buzz.

TypeScript is also on the rise. Although technically a superset of JavaScript (i.e., code is transpiled into JavaScript), many language-rankings treat TypeScript (however controversially) as a full-fledged language.

“As with Python, TypeScript is succeeding in part because of patterns,” is how RedMonk frames TypeScript’s rise. “Instead of versatility, however, TypeScript is buoyed by both its ability to intermingle with a large existing codebase in JavaScript and its potential ability to make the resulting code safer.”

But some languages aren’t enjoying explosive growth. Kotlin, widely considered an up-and-comer ever since Google named it a “first class” language for Android development, has seen its adoption level off. “There have even been suggestions that the syntactically and aesthetically popular language might have been a flash in the pan, and give back the ground it had gained to fellow JVM-based alternatives such as Clojure, Groovy or Scala,” RedMonk wrote. “The next run will be interesting to observe in order to determine whether it can continue to build on those gains, or whether there is another long pause before growth continues.”

The rest of RedMonk’s analysis is well worth checking out. As we progress through 2020, keep in mind that the most popular languages—JavaScript, Python, Java, and so on—aren’t going anywhere, in terms of adoption and usage. That being said, it’s always well-worth keeping an eye on these kinds of lists to see how smaller languages such as Kotlin, R, and Go are faring.