Another month, another update of the TIOBE Index, which attempts to trace the popularity of the world’s programming languages. As with previous editions of the Index, there wasn’t much of a shift in March’s top rankings, with the exception of C rising from second to first place—but further down the list, there have been some changes worth calling out.
Specifically, Groovy (an object-oriented programming language for the Java platform) has jumped from 36th to 15th place, year-over-year. That’s quite a leap, and it’s interesting because it’s not the first time that the programming language has risen significantly into TIOBE’s top 20: Back in July 2019, for example, it leapt from 81st to 15th.
What’s behind that rise? Excellent question. In order to create its 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. In light of that, it seems that there’s been more chatter around Groovy lately.
Groovy is utilized in many popular tools, including Jenkins and Gradle; it’s also supported by an array of integrated development environments (IDEs). It has a long history of utilization in the context of cloud and web applications, so it’s very possible that more developers have been relying on Groovy lately when working on those sorts of projects.
It’s also worth noting that Swift, Apple’s newer programming language for iOS and macOS development, has fallen from 13th to 19th, year-over-year, placing it just ahead of Objective-C, Apple’s older language (currently in 20th). When Swift first launched in 2014, many predicted that it would soon swallow up all of Objective-C’s market share. However, that hasn’t come to pass, thanks at least in part to Objective-C’s huge legacy codebase. As Swift matures and gains more features, though, it’s worth asking whether its adoption will also increase substantially over the next year or two.
The TIOBE Index is just one of many programming-language rankings out there, and some people take issue with its particular methodology. Nonetheless, it’s important to take note which languages are rising and falling over the long term—it could impact which languages you choose for various projects.