C++, C# Programming Languages Continue Strong Growth: TIOBE

By programming-language standards, C++ and C# are quite mature—37 and 21 years old, respectively. But that’s not harming their adoption, according to the latest update to the TIOBE Index, which attempts to track the “buzz” around the world’s programming languages.

Compared to a year ago, C# (currently in fifth place on TIOBE’s list) has enjoyed the biggest ratings rise of all programming languages (1.98 percent). “C# is one of the most mature programming languages in existence, supporting many modern programming paradigms,” read the note accompanying TIOBE’s latest update. “Until recently, its only disadvantage was that its Linux support was questionable, but this is changing rapidly the last couple of years. So chances are high that C# might enter the TIOBE index top 3 by replacing C.”

C++, meanwhile, is enjoying a similar trend, “boosted by C++ 20.”  

If you’re interested in the relative popularity of various programming languages, you should occasionally check out the TIOBE Index. To determine 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. No, it isn’t the most scientific means of determining programming languages’ respective popularity, but it’s a good way to determine at a glance which languages have “buzz.”

With the most popular languages at the top of TIOBE’s list (such as Python, C, and Java), ranks rarely shift very much. Further down, however, there’s quite a bit of movement. For example, Swift has jumped from 18th place to 12th over the past year, which perhaps isn’t surprising given how Apple pushes developers to use the language to build iOS and macOS apps. Delphi/Object Pascal, Lua, and Perl also saw their ranks rise over the past 12 months.

Perhaps the most surprising gainer on the list, though, is Objective-C, which has gone from 21st place to 16th. Long Apple’s primary programming language, Objective-C was supposed to fade away as Swift, its replacement, gained prominence and usage. That Objective-C continues to rise speaks to the need to maintain legacy code, as well as the need for Swift to build out more features that developers want.