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The Rise And Fall Of Programming Languages

Here's what happened in 2013 to C, Java, Objective-C, C++, C#, PHP, Visual Basic, and Python.

Andrew Binstock

January 22, 2014

1 Min Read

On the surface, 2013 appeared to be a quiet year in terms of programming language popularity and adoption. The reality, however, suggests considerable activity. As I usually do in January, I analyze several language metrics from multiple sources: Ohloh.net, which measures activity across almost 600,000 open source projects, Google Trends, and the much maligned Tiobe index.

At first blush, there appears to be no change in this year's figures. The Tiobe index, for example, shows that the top eight spots (starting at #1: C, Java, Objective-C, C++, C#, PHP, Visual Basic, and Python, respectively) were exactly the same as last year. But looking deeper, we see ...

JavaScript took the ninth slot, which was vacated by Perl when it dropped four places. The fall of Perl has been going on for a long time and seems now to be accelerating. Despite great affection for Perl, there is no doubt that Python is safely the top general-purpose scripting language. Not only is Python blessed with a large and active community, but this community has, by its sheer size and constant contribution to open source, overcome the last notable advantage Perl enjoyed: CPAN -- the rich trove of modules. The following chart, courtesy of Ohloh, shows the number of projects with activity per month for the two languages (Python in purple, Perl in khaki).

Read the rest of this article on Dr. Dobb's.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Binstock

Editor-in-chief, Dr. Dobb's Journal

Prior to joining Dr. Dobb's Journal, Andrew Binstock worked as a technology analyst, as well as a columnist for SD Times, a reviewer for InfoWorld, and the editor of UNIX Review. Before that, he was a senior manager at Price Waterhouse. He began his career in software development.

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