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JavaScript, PHP Top Most Popular Languages, With Apple's Swift Rising Fast 192

Nerval's Lobster writes Developers assume that Swift, Apple's newish programming language for iOS and Mac OS X apps, will become extremely popular over the next few years. According to new data from RedMonk, a tech-industry analyst firm, Swift could reach that apex of popularity sooner rather than later. While the usual stalwarts—including JavaScript, Java, PHP, Python, C#, C++, and Ruby—top RedMonk's list of the most-used languages, Swift has, well, swiftly ascended 46 spots in the six months since the firm's last update, from 68th to 22nd. RedMonk pulls data from GitHub and Stack Overflow to create its rankings, due to those sites' respective sizes and the public nature of their data. While its top-ranked languages don't trade positions much between reports, there's a fair amount of churn at the lower end of the rankings. Among those "smaller" languages, R has enjoyed stable popularity over the past six months, Rust and Julia continue to climb, and Go has exploded upwards—although CoffeeScript, often cited as a language to watch, has seen its support crumble a bit.
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JavaScript, PHP Top Most Popular Languages, With Apple's Swift Rising Fast

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  • Interesting pattern (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Salamander ( 33735 ) <jeff AT pl DOT atyp DOT us> on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @09:15PM (#48985465) Homepage Journal

    Below the line are languages that are more popular on GitHub. Above the line are languages that are more popular on Sewer Overflow. There's a distinct difference. The "GH" languages tend to be systems languages (Go/Rust/D) and CS favorites (Haskell/OCaml/Erlang). The "SO" languages tend to be more lightweight and application-specific - Visual Basic, Matlab, ColdFusion. "Assembly" seems to be an outlier, but other than that the pattern seems pretty consistent. Conclusions about the audiences for the two sites are best left as an exercise for the reader.

    • The Github languages are those that people who use Github generally like to use. The Stack Overflow languages are those that people who frequent Stack Overflow generally ask questions about. Those are not the same things.

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @09:20PM (#48985493) Homepage

    Sure, lots of interest in javascript, php. What is the longevity of that code (beyond libraries)? Weeks? Months? And not sure public github or stack overflow are really as representative as they want to believe

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @10:45PM (#48985989)

      More critically, the question I always ask about this is: "Used for what?"

      Without that context, why does popularity even matter? For example, I'm a game developer, so my programming life revolves around C++, at least for game-side or engine-level code - period. Nothing else is even on the radar when you're talking about highly-optimized, AAA games. For scripting, Lua is a popular contender. For internal tools, C# seems to be quite popular. I've also seen Python used for tool extensions, or for smaller tools in their own right. Javascript is generally only used for web-based games, or by the web development teams for peripheral stuff.

      I'll bet everyone in their own particular industry has their own languages which are dominant. For instance, if you're working on the Linux kernel, you're obviously working in C. It doesn't matter what the hell everyone else does. If you're working in scientific computing, are you really looking seriously at Swift? Of course not. Fortran, F#, or C++ are probably more appropriate, or perhaps others I'm not aware of. A new lightweight iOS app? Swift it is!

      Languages are not all equal. The popularity of Javascript is not the measure of merit of that particular language. It's a measure of how popular web-based development is (mostly). C/C++ is largely a measure of how many native, high-performance-required applications there are (games, OS development, large native applications). Etc, etc.

      Raw popularity numbers probably only have one practical use, and that's finding a programming job without concern for the particular industry. Or I suppose if you're so emotionally invested in a particular language, it's nice to know where it stands among them all.

    • by unrtst ( 777550 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:34PM (#48986283)

      ... And not sure public github or stack overflow are really as representative as they want to believe

      Yeah.. why is this any better than:
      TIOBE index: http://www.tiobe.com/index.php... [tiobe.com]
      This story about python surpassing java as top learning language: http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]
      Or this about 5 languages you'll need to learn for the next year and on: http://news.dice.com/2014/07/2... [dice.com] ... those are all from the past year on slashdot, and there's loads more.

      Next "top languages" post I see, I hope it just combines all the other existing stats to provide a weightable index (allow you to tweak what's most important). Maybe BH can address that :-)

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Thursday February 05, 2015 @03:23AM (#48987041)

      What is the longevity of that code (beyond libraries)? Weeks? Months?

      Simple. Just peek one of the available functions/vars
      $longevity = PhpGetLongevity_days();
      $longevity = php_get_long_evity( IN_DAYS );
      $longevity = $_SERVER['longevity_days_from_server_variable'];
      $longevity = $OBJ.__what_isMyLongevity();

  • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @09:21PM (#48985495)

    All new languages start out at the bottom, as Swift did.
    In time, the ones that don't get used fall down.

    Swift has gotten up to 22nd, but the rest of the climb past the stragglers won't ever happen.

    However, to be "the most popular language" is clearly no contest worth winning.
    Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are most popular compared to Steven Hawking and Isaac Asimov.
    Being popular doesn't mean better, useful, or even of any value whatsoever. It just means
    someone has a better marketing-of-crap department.

    There's a time to have popularity contests. It's called high school.

    E

    • by coop247 ( 974899 )

      Being popular doesn't mean better, useful, or even of any value whatsoever

      PHP runs facebook, yahoo, wordpress, and wikipedia. Javascript runs everything on the internet. Yup, no value there.

    • Swift has gotten up to 22nd, but the rest of the climb past the stragglers won't ever happen.

      Well, since Objective C is currently at #10, it seems apparent Swift is still nowhere near its potential ceiling.

    • Swift has gotten up to 22nd, but the rest of the climb past the stragglers won't ever happen.

      I'm really interested in why you think Swift will not make it much higher. I have my own opinions but I'm interested in hearing yours.

      There's a time to have popularity contests. It's called high school.

      The point of popularity contests in programming languages makes the difference between having to write all the libraries yourself, or being able to use work others have done. Also it's interesting to see what other people think is good.

      • I don't think it'll really catch on until you have access the entire iOS API.

        • Genuine question: don't you?

        • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:43PM (#48986329)

          You can get at pretty much the whole thing now. The only thing you can't do in Swift is create a C function pointer to a Swift code block, so some of the callback-based tasks in CoreAudio and CoreMIDI can't be used. But apart from that calling into C and using C data structures pretty much just works.

          The existing APIs aren't very idiomatic to Swift, you gotta do more casts than you probably should have to and there are some really common patterns in Cocoa that are a pain.

      • The point of popularity contests in programming languages makes the difference between having to write all the libraries yourself, or being able to use work others have done. Also it's interesting to see what other people think is good.

        Surely there's a saturation point for libraries where trying to see the wood for the trees is less convenient than just getting on with the job.

      • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

        The fact that Swift *only* targets iOS and OSX makes it a non starter for most companies. Companies are not in the game of building an app twice from the ground up. Cross platform frameworks for apps and games are ESSENTIAL - even if the app has a different skin between iOS and Android, the internals all need to be cross-platform. Otherwise you are spending 2x the cost for none of the benefit.

        FWIW, this is also why this survey is incredibly flawed. The vast majority of iOS and OSX apps are not open source s

    • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @10:57PM (#48986067)

      Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are most popular compared to Steven Hawking and Isaac Asimov. Being popular doesn't mean better, useful, or even of any value whatsoever. It just means someone has a better marketing-of-crap department.

      Thanks, now I'm imagining Stephen Hawking yelling at his marketing team from that wheelchair. "Why is Kim Kardashian more popular than me? You think her space-time is more curvy than mine?"

    • by pspahn ( 1175617 )

      More popular ... wiping your ass with toilet paper, or wiping your ass with fir boughs?

      More popular ... vacation on Maui, or vacation in Damascus?

      More popular ... Green means proceed / go, or red means proceed / go?

      You define popularity as an amount of noise generated by media about a given consumer product. I prefer to think of popularity as the choice of the masses due to utility.

      Are you trying to imply that Swift would be better served by being less popular? I mean, maybe among you and your Swift cod

    • Swift popularity is just due to the ability to make iOS apps. As iOS is a popular platform for apps.
      Before swift you had objective C. So you really didn't have much of a choice.
      Unless Apple opens their api a bit more so we can use swift in non-apple land and make cross platform apps. I will classify it in fad status.
      Because there could be many things that can disrupt it now.
      1. Cell plans get reasonable with their data plans and have better coverage. So we can go towards web apps again.

      2. Cross platform mob

    • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

      Paris what?
      Kardainsky?
      Sorry, I've never heard of those scientists.

  • If only one of these languages would let me write a spell-checker that puts a red underline beneath words that are misspelled, and a 5KV pulse under the kiester of any "editor" who passes the wrong homophone...

    • ...or under the keister of anyone who doesn't double-check the correct spelling of a word, even though the existing spell-checker flags the correct spelling as wrong as well.

      Guess it wasn't German-derived.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @09:39PM (#48985617)

    McDonalds may serve billions, but no one is trying to pass it off as gourmet food.

    Kind of like PHP and Javascript. The most fucked up languages are the most popular ... Go figure.

    * http://dorey.github.io/JavaScr... [github.io]

    • by unrtst ( 777550 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:44PM (#48986345)

      McDonalds may serve billions, but no one is trying to pass it off as gourmet food.

      But if you want to learn a skill that will almost certainly get you a job somewhere, then learning to flip burgers is a pretty safe way to ensure a job (quality of job not considered).

      This type of popularity *does* have a purpose and implications and value. It's good to know. You still need other factors before you make your decisions, but it's a valuable one. It'd be nice if the various indexes had a page that also allowed them to be cross referenced and weighted to produce new calculated scores (ex. pay scaled by a factor of 1.5; lines of code in the wild scaled by factor of 0.5; most growth in past N years scaled by factor of 1.2; job postings for it scaled by 1; etc etc; combine them and calculate new scores). I don't know if I'd actually get any more usable value out of that, but it'd be (arguably) better than these stats we've been given lately.

      • But if you want to learn a skill that will almost certainly get you a job somewhere, then learning to flip burgers is a pretty safe way to ensure a job (quality of job not considered).

        Not really. In 2009, you were more likely to get into Harvard then to get a job at McDonalds... and McDonalds was hiring tens of thousands of new employees. And that's one of the many new part time jobs they opened up, not one that pays the bills.

        JS and PHP are a lot like that. A lot of jobs, but so many people competing fo

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      I think this is the SO distortion effect.

      Effectively the more warts a language has and/or the more poorly documented it is, the more questions that are bound to be asked about it, hence the more apparent popularity if you use SO as a metric.

      So if companies like Microsoft and Oracle produce masses of great documentation for their respective technologies and provide entire sites of resources for them (such as www.asp.net or the MSDN developer forums) then they'll inherently see reduced "popularity" on SO.

      Simi

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      The most fucked up languages are the most popular ... Go figure.

      That's because they took their stats from StackOverflow. So basically this is a list of the languages people have the most trouble with.

  • has anyone else noticed that typos have become much more prevalent in slashdot articles in the past year, and that they are less-often corrected? sited, it's, and many more.

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Thursday February 05, 2015 @12:28AM (#48986537)

      that they are less-often corrected?

      If you've noticed that, it means that you often read those articles more than once. That's not how Slashdot is supposed to work.

      Here is a tutorial:

      1) Have a quick look at the new articles. If you manage to read an entire title, click on it, otherwise scroll.

      2) Check if the submitter is Bennett. If it's the case, go back to #1.

      3) Read the first 2 lines of the summary, and if those contain hyperlinks, move your mouse over the first one to see if it's a reputable domain (but don't click - the idea is just to see if the story is bullshit). If there are many hyperlinks in the first two lines, especially if there is a series of 1-word hyperlinks, go back to #1. In any event don't read more than 2 lines.

      4) If there are 10 comments or less, post a Frist! comment. If there are more than 10 but less than 50 comments, post a comment without reading the existing ones. If there are 50 comments or more, find the first 5 Interesting and try to find a weakness in the comment (that's your best way to a 5 Insightful). Don't worry if you don't know the details of what is in the article (or even in the summary), most people don't read those either, and those who do will provide you with the tldr version at some point if you're terribly wrong.

      5) If you are bored, scroll to 2/3 of the page and find the first -1 Flamebait. Odds are that it's one of the most interesting comments in the page.

      6) If you are still bored and there's nothing left but yro or "answers your questions" stories on the homepage, pick any article, remove the moderation filters and try to find those long rambling homophobic/racist erotica comments, or why not treat yourself to a full read of one of the posts from Mr Hosts file.

      There you go. There's plenty to do on Slashdot besides keeping statistics about how often typos are fixed.

      • This is fascinating, and I think it gets to a lot of the gripes I see in comments here. Basically, the longed-for slashdot of old was designed for rapid consumption of low-density news data at a fast pace. The slashdot we all experience now provides that, but the complaint is that the superficial browsing you describe yields less of a fix for data-hungry readers than it used to.

        Frankly, I think the level of discussion has gone up as the level of satisfaction has gone down. I come here for the comments.

        Thank

      • 7) Try to work in something about the layout being totally fucked. Even if it's not, it probably will be again by the time anyone reads it.

      • by ignavus ( 213578 )

        I think Slashdot should make this their official site tutorial.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @10:52PM (#48986023) Journal
    If anyone is wondering about the methodology, I did the hard work of reading the article so you don't have to.

    Essentially they measured the popularity of the language on github, then measured the popularity of the language on stack overflow. The rank is an average of the two.

    Swift is right there next to assembly, in case you're wondering how popular it is.
    • by swilver ( 617741 )

      It looks like a logarithmic or ranked scale as well, as some obscure stuff is way too high compared to the top contenders.

  • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:59PM (#48986409)

    I don't know why "Shell" is in only 11th place. It's such a powerful language, it has the whole shebang.

  • CoffeeScript is almost tied to Ruby. Its Javascript for people who like Ruby syntax, even if it costs them real debuggability (sourcemaps are meh with it, and the output code is terrible, no matter how much they argue until they're blue in the face that its beautiful... I had 20 lines of CS code get compiled to a single line of nested ternary operations before...that was fun...not).

    While on that index Ruby went up, non-ruby people rarely hit CoffeeScript (they do, but in a significantly smaller ratio), and

    • I had 20 lines of CS code get compiled to a single line of nested ternary operations before...that was fun...not).

      You have to admit it's pretty cool, though.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday February 05, 2015 @03:04AM (#48986989) Homepage Journal

    You have to use the right tool for the job, even if that means learning something new to you. Competent programmers don't make their decisions based on what tools they already know; they make them based on what is the best fit for the requirements of the system or component.

    Yes, component. It's not at all uncommon for a well-designed system to be implemented using multiple technologies and languages, each best suited to their piece of the puzzle.

    • It's not at all uncommon for a well-designed system to be implemented using multiple technologies and languages, each best suited to their piece of the puzzle.

      Which is why it's a nuisance that a single file can only be in one language. I've been saying it a lot of late, but the reason that most multiparadigm languages fail is that they add keyword upon keyword in order to hack a single syntax into multiple different paradigms, rather than simply having syntax defined by context.

      The most extreme example I can think of would be SQL queries. When I last needed to database queries from Servlet Java (over a decade ago), you had to build everything up as strings and th

  • From the chart they have presented:
    - Swift is less popular on github that Emacs Lisp and Lua and considerably less popular than VimL
    - Swift is about same popular on stack overflow as Assembly, ColdFusion, Dephi and Powershell

    Too bad they don't provide raw numbers. Currently Swift is ranked at '75' while Javascript is ranked as '100'. What it really means that there are 1,161,994 repositories marked as javascript, and 17,413 repositories maked as Swift. Pascal, which has '50' in that axis has 4348 projects.

  • Many coffeescript devs when asking questions in stackoverflow or making public libraries in github use Javascript for increased visibility. Also I don't know how they measure data in github, but for each .coffee file there is a .js file as well which could distort the results.

  • JavaScript, PHP Top Most Popular Languages

    Not just most popular, but top most popular!

  • by yayoubetcha ( 893774 ) on Thursday February 05, 2015 @09:47AM (#48987997)

    I preferred MIPS or 68K assembly. I hated x86 asm.

    1992: I wanted more firmware jobs. Screw it, I'm going to learn x86 asm. I developed an RTOS with an x86 kernel. Hired by major semi company in '95 as a contractor. Promoted and led 12 person dev team in 1996 to help build the most powerful supercomputer at that time. Top of my rank group for duration @ company. Cashed in my chips in early 2001 and "retired" from corporate life. Worked part-time since and spending most of my time enjoying the outdoors: ultra-running, mountaineering, ski-mountaineering, mtn biking, world travel, ....

    Payoff of popular languages worked for me (C and x86 asm in the 90s).

    Overall, screw popularity... seek the path to what will make you happy. For me, it was upward mobility in my career (and $$$).

  • They took their list from the languages GitHub and StackOverflow. GitHub is an online source code repository service, and StackOverflow is a technical Q&A site. So this is essentially some combination of the languages used most by folks for Open Source (typically non-paying) work and the languages that are causing people the most grief.

    That's an interesting way to define "popular".

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