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C Isn't The Most Popular Programming Language, JavaScript Is (networkworld.com) 241

An anonymous reader quotes Network World: U.K.-based technology analyst firm RedMonk just released the latest version of its biannual rankings of programming languages, and once again JavaScript tops the list, followed by Java and PHP. Those are same three languages that topped RedMonk's list in January. In fact, the entire top 10 remains the same as it was it was six months ago...
Python ranked #4 on RedMonk's list, while the survey found a three-way tie for fifth place between Ruby, C#, and C++, with C coming in at #9 (ranking just below CSS). Network World argues that while change comes slowly, "if you go back deeper into RedMonk's rankings, you can see slow, ongoing ascents from languages such as Go, Swift and even TypeScript."

Interestingly, an earlier ranking by the IEEE declared C to be the top programming language of 2016, followed by Java, Python, C++, and R. But RedMonk's methodology involves studying the prevalence of each language on both Stack Overflow and GitHub, a correlation which "we believe to be predictive of future use, hence their value."
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C Isn't The Most Popular Programming Language, JavaScript Is

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  • is more popular than oxygen. Millions have already switched!!

    • Nitrogen is more popular than oxygen by a factor of about 3.7
      • Nitrogen is more popular than oxygen by a factor of about 3.7

        Only if you look at just the atmosphere. If you include the lithosphere and the oceans, oxygen wins by a landslide. In the universe, oxygen is about ten times as common [wikipedia.org]. But as a consolation prize, nitrogen-14 is by far the most common substance with an odd number of both protons and neutrons.

        What does any of this have to do with programming languages?

    • It's a gas. I am laughing I hadn't switched before.

  • CSS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:44PM (#52617513) Homepage Journal

    CSS is hardly a programming language. Thus, RedMonk can be safely ignored.

  • Javascript (Score:2, Insightful)

    Is this a joke??? JavaScript is a SCRIPTING Language, not a PROGRAMMING language.
    • Re:Javascript (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chrism238 ( 657741 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:49PM (#52617535)
      Unusual distinction that you make. So where do you stand on the languages Python, the Unix shell, Tcl/Tk, ..... ?
      • Python is a programming language Unix shell e.g. Bourne, is a scripting language Tcl/tk is a scripting language Nothing unusual about this...
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by narcc ( 412956 )

          What silly criteria did you use to make those distinctions?

        • Can you tell me the precise difference between the two? Sure Python may have JIT, but at the end of the day, it's distributables are plain text files, so it has a lot more in common with sh/ksh/bash than C or Java.

    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      There's no real, objective, distinction. Neither is there a need to make such a distinction. It's an impossible task that serves no purpose.

      You're wasting an awful lot of outrage on completely meaningless nonsense. Let it go. You'll feel better.

    • Re:Javascript (Score:4, Insightful)

      by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @09:08PM (#52618351) Journal

      All scripting languages are programming languages.
      And considering how JavaScript is used, it is hardly a scripting language anyway. The word "Script" in its name is misleading.
      If you want to argue about Scripting languages than ksh, bash, TCL, JCL are scripting languages, JavaScript is far from those in every regard.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      Programming, in context, is the act of instructing a general purpose computer how to accomplish a particular task. Scripting languages are used to instruct general purpose computers how to accomplish a task. Thus, scripting languages are programming languages.

      You, on the other hand, are an incredible idiot who should no longer be allowed to communicate with people.

    • Is this a joke??? JavaScript is a SCRIPTING Language, not a PROGRAMMING language.

      In 20 years of doing this shit for a living (C/C++, VB, FoxPro, Java, C#, Python, Assembly, etc.) I have never heard such a ridiculous distinction. JavaScript can be run as a scripting language, standalone or embedded just as Python, Ruby, Lua, Erlang or Bash. And unlike Bash (and like Python, Ruby, Lua and/or Erlang), it is also used to build full-blown stand-alone systems.

      Scripting is just a programming facet or capability. What a ridiculous and unheard of dichotomy you have there buddy.

      • I actually did that distinction in the past.. then I grew up. :)
        Guess I just learned that the implementation of the language matters more than the language itself.

  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:47PM (#52617529)

    But RedMonk's methodology involves studying the prevalence of each language on both Stack Overflow and GitHub, a correlation which "we believe to be predictive of future use, hence their value.

    I know smartphones are all the rage, but there are tonnes of old school embedded devices out there and tonnes more still being developed. By old school I mean run on some embedded-type CPU or ASIC, run some custom OS, and only have a C compiler available (probably the one written by the team that bootstrapped development of the initial version of the device).

    I doubt that developers working on those devices regularly post their code to GitHub and fairly positive that not many of them would post to StackOverflow asking how to make a flubord close with a genie effect on Ubuntu using clang when there is a PS/2 mouse connected.

    A methodology that relies on GH and SO posts is likely to be strongly biased toward new web-based and open source development.

    • "No claims are made here that these rankings are representative of general usage more broadly. 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."

      There's a whole pile of disclaimers at the bottom of their list, this being one. So that's already addressed.

      • They are nothing more or less than an examination of the correlation between two populations we believe to be predictive of future use

        That sounds like an attempt to say "these are representative of general usage more broadly" without actually saying that.

    • A methodology that relies on GH and SO posts is likely to be strongly biased toward new web-based and open source development.

      Certainly. It's hard to believe that just looking at embedded development alone, C isn't some number of orders of magnitude larger than JS by almost any useful metric I can think of: number of different projects, number of project-users, number of lines of code written, number of lines of code executed, number of different architectures/platforms supported by the language, number of developer-hours, etc.

      To put this in some kind of perspective, 50,000 lines is quite large for the front end of a modern web ap

      • C isn't some number of orders of magnitude larger than JS by almost any useful metric I can think of: number of different projects, number of project-users, number of lines of code written, number of lines of code executed, number of different architectures/platforms supported by the language, number of developer-hours, etc.
        Most definitely not.

        The amount of C programmers on the world is what? A million perhaps? I doubt it actually, probably less than half a million.

        Basically every other mainstream language

        • Well, I don't have hard data to hand, but it's obvious that you're dramatically underestimating the scale of the embedded software industry. Don't feel bad, almost everyone who's never worked in it does.

          The reason I say it's obvious is that you have the common misconceptions that Linux-based systems represent the majority of embedded development and that most embedded software could be written by a single person. While Linux is certainly gaining popularity for some larger and more powerful devices today, th

        • C isn't some number of orders of magnitude larger than JS by almost any useful metric I can think of: number of different projects, number of project-users, number of lines of code written, number of lines of code executed, number of different architectures/platforms supported by the language, number of developer-hours, etc. Most definitely not.

          The amount of C programmers on the world is what? A million perhaps? I doubt it actually, probably less than half a million.

          A single *country* has more than that.

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        but 50,000,000 lines is quite small for all the firmware in a modern car.

        You have got to be joking. The entire Linux kernel, including all the device drivers, is under 17,000,000. The space shuttle control software was less than 500,000 lines. (source [nap.edu])

    • A methodology that relies on GH and SO posts is likely to be strongly biased toward new web-based and open source development.

      Indeed. Back when langpop.com was still around, they collected data from as many different places as possible. Google search, the equivalent of Github at the time, book sales, job search sites, etc. The different sources had drastically different results, enough to say that selecting from any one of them (especially Github) is not representative.

  • Is this actually measuring popularity, or just usage?

    Just because something's used a lot, doesn't mean it's actually popular with the people who use it...

  • by jb_nizet ( 98713 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:52PM (#52617555)
    I certainly write some JavaScript. But it doesn't mean I like it, or even that I chose to. I just don't have the choice. Sure, I can (and do) use TypeScript or CoffeeScript, but they all suck and I would choose any type-safe language over them if I could. JavaScript is unfortunately the only language that the browsers support. I really hope that WebAssembly becomes a real, usable thing soon, and that better type-safe languages for the browser emerge. Or even better: that existing languages, like Kotlin, start targetting it and that a saner ecosystem emerges around it. I'm sick of JavaScript, and even more of its awful ecosystem (NPM, etc.)
    • You're right that the only sane option is to use a language that 'compiles' into Javascript. TypeScript [wikipedia.org] supports static typing and might fit your bill.

      Hopefully DART will get off the ground soon.

    • You are mixing up static and dynamic typing.

      JavaScript is type safe, except for the weird casting between numbers, bools, nulls and in some cases Strings.

      CoffeeScrip e.g. adresses those issues.

  • ...a correlation which "we believe to be predictive of future use, hence their value."...

    If that is valid, I'm sure Redmonk has the historical data that supports the assertion.. Why not publish it?

    .

  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @06:18PM (#52617655)

    Clearly, IEEE has more experience and is more believable. (And yes, I am an IEEE member, but that does not really biais me.) The methodogy used by IEEE spectrum is public [1]. And it also takes stack overflow and git hub as indices. Though that is not the ONLY thing it uses.

    There is a saying in data mining: I'd rather have more data than a better algorithm.

    [1] http://spectrum.ieee.org/ns/IE... [ieee.org]

    • Thanks for that link; it's pretty clear that the ieee study is far more encompassing, perhaps close to the truth! I don't really like programming in C (although it's been many years since I've done embedded) or JavaScript (mostly because I hate UI work, oh and JS), but my languages of choice are still high enough in that list. I just wish every recruiter wasn't looking for "full stack" developers. Swift is fun to work with, maybe I should reinvent myself as an apple specialist.
    • This is the IEEE article: The 2016 Top Programming Languages [ieee.org]. The link in the parent comment only shows the methods [ieee.org]. The methods page does not have a link to the main article.

      Here are some comments copied from the Top Programming Languages interactive web page [ieee.org] that seem to indicate that the IEEE is not competent:

      "Antonio Campos - 5 days ago -- middle of 2016 and people still thinking HTML is a programming language"

      "RM1948 - 5 days ago -- Arduino is not a language but a development environment. It s
  • Regardless of the 'distinction' between scripting and programming languages, the continued use of Java and Flash presentation just points out how low on the scale of things security falls.
    Granted I am a hardware guy and not a programmer I think security should rate nearly as high as general user friendliness.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday July 31, 2016 @06:47PM (#52617729) Homepage Journal

    Programming languages are all general-purpose in some important senses, since they're all Turing Complete, but in practice they tend to have rather well-defined contexts and purposes. In a lot of ways I think asking "Which is the most popular programming language?" is a lot like asking "Which is the most popular hand tool?". The question doesn't make a lot of sense without some context.

    • "Which is the most popular hand tool?".

      I'll be honest, I really like the hammer. What do you think? I have to admit I have an emotional attachment to wirestrippers that came after I could finally afford them, after spending years trying to (painfully) strip wires with a knife as I was growing up........

    • Clearly the hammer is, you can hammer in screws and remove them with the claw. For the life of me I don't know why the screw driver is not obsolete, it's probably all those hipsters that unnecessary use a screw driver to feel cool.
  • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @06:49PM (#52617735)

    Yet another useless programming language ranking. First they do not define what most popular means. The text suggests it means the most used language. In embedded systems it is C and C++. As embedded systems are a super widespread typenof system a lot of programmers are required. Hence it is very popular there. In contrast JS is only relevant for UI and lately small nodejs services. Most stuff in the internet runs different engines. Counting projects on github only shows the number of free or at least fancy projects , but no embedded company or other larger SW company is storing their intellectual property in the US and with an external service.

  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @07:03PM (#52617793)

    I wonder why.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Crayola's methodology involves studying the prevalence of each art type on both refrigerator doors and classroom windows, a correlation which "we believe to be predictive of future use, hence their value."

  • There is a mass of C code that will never be published in Github or Stack Overflow. billions of devices, propriety software and systems. I am sure the percentage wise C is on the decrease but using Github or Stack Overflow to measure that is seriously flawed.
  • That the ugliest language is the most popular due to an odd set of circumstances.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I do not think the circumstances are odd. Unless you consider it odd that capitalism favors the least competent (and hence cheapest) group of developers for most work. As soon as we have liability for code that is not up to professional standards, things are going to change. Of course, we will need to have a number of larger catastrophes to get there first. (As for FOSS: That one is simple: Open and free the source or be liable for anything bad it does....)

  • For the semi-competent, you have Java. For those that do not manage that level, you have JavaScript. For those that actually understand what they are doing, you have a large faction that prefers C and the rest is all over the place.

    Just remember that we have far too many "developers" and most of them are bad at it. This thing is a Pyramid with the largest and least competent group being at the bottom with JavaScript.

    • by unimacs ( 597299 )
      Anyone that knows what they are doing and are creating a complex web application will be writing a lot of javascript and maybe some java or C# on the server side.

      The competent will choose a language, not just based on personal preference or their skill level, but on what makes sense to use for the task at hand. At this point in my career, it's the project that gets me excited and not working with any particular language. I can be equally happy coding in C, Go, Java, Python, or even javascript. I'm not m
  • Red who? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @08:47PM (#52618259)

    Python ranked #4 on RedMonk's list, while the survey found a three-way tie for fifth place between Ruby, C#, and C++,

    Their methodology according to the link is to scan github and sourceforge and determine what frequency those projects use what languages. This is absolutely asinine, as it completely precludes all closed source work. Most embedded systems, drivers, and other low level work is not going to be open source, as it is work for hire. This list can best be described as the ranking of the popularity of languages for peoples pet projects, and or what languages they use when not getting paid. I will also say that given the choice between a website with only a dozen years of existence vs IEEE with almost 100 years of existence with an interest in all things electronic and computing, I will go with IEEE every time. Sorry RedMonk, its just hard to take you seriously when you are clearly some guys blog, and you're competing with an international professional organization with membership measured in the millions and decades of exceptional science and technology reporting.

  • I've been looking to return to programming after years of doing firmware development, doing some IT work since, and now going back to school to update my skills. In order to see what I should focus on in school I've been looking at what languages are seen most often on job postings. In no particular order I see JavaScript, SQL, PHP, Python, and Perl at the top of my list. There's some demand for C++, C#, and Ruby. I'll see some demand for things like R, Matlab, and some statistical tools, but those seem to be jobs at the local university which should not be a surprise.

    What I've figured out is that there is demand for people that can program web based applications. This means JavaScript and its various libraries, PHP, Python, and perhaps some Java and C++. If we are stretching the programming languages a bit then we get into things like HTML, XML, CSS, and other markup languages. Looking at the programming course I have this fall I see it will be taught using Java, Ruby, or Scala. I don't recall even seeing Scala until today so this could be interesting.

    • Just a tip, if you want to do front end web development, pick up JavaScript (along with HTML, CSS). If you want to do anything else (web services, desktop applications, mobile applications, data science, etc), look at a more robust language.
  • It would have happened over a decade earlier [ideosphere.com] if the DotCon bubble burst hadn't replaced most of the old guard in Silicon Valley with H-1b's from India trained in Java.

  • Let us remember that from 1960 to about 2001, the language would have been COBOL not Javascript. None then or now believe it was all that great of a language. For javascript all I can say it is that it is a great write once, take forever to figure out what it is doing language. I'm not to thrilled with prototypes.

    The one thing I find really surprising is that C ranks over C++. Sure there are some nasty things that can be done in C++, but I recently looked at some C code. The majority of it was replicating b

  • I couldn't care less. I've never cared. I seriously doubt that I'll ever care.
  • Hi! Since when did an engineer pick the right tool for the job by popularity? Totally irrelevant survey only good for click-bait.

  • Trend languages tend to be more popular on trend public hosting platforms like github and more mature languages already have answers on stackoverflow and the like and therefore would have fewer questions asked. C would likely rank even lower without so many people asking questions and getting pointed at existing solutions.

    The flaw in this methodology is that it assumes the fly-by-night trend languages of today will survive the test of time simply because their adoption rate is high today. The reality is mos

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