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Which Programming Language Is Most Popular - The Final Answer? (zdnet.com) 401

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Following a common technique among political pollsters, a technology columnist combined the results from various measures of programming language popularity for a more definitive answer about the most important languages to study. He used IEEE Spectrum's interactive list of the top programming languages, which lets you adjust the weight given to the number of job listings and number or open source projects, then combined it with the TIOBE Index (which is based on search engine results), and the PYPL Index, which checks the number of tutorials for each programming language on Google.

The results? "The top cluster contains Java, C, Python, and C++. Without a doubt, you should attain familiarity with these four languages." He points out they're not tied to a specific programming platform, unlike languages in the second cluster -- JavaScript, C#, PHP, and Swift -- while the last two languages in the top 10 were Objective-C and R. "The C-family of languages still dominates. Java, C++, C, C#, and even Objective-C are all C-based languages. If you're only going to learn one language, you should pick one of those." But his ultimate advice is to "learn multiple languages and multiple frameworks... Programming is not just an intellectual exercise. You have to actually make stuff."

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Which Programming Language Is Most Popular - The Final Answer?

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  • This again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Sunday September 25, 2016 @11:45PM (#52960313)
    Seriously Miss Universe is only once a year. Yet I'm seeing "which is the most popular language" every month or so here. Who gives a shit? Certainly not your CPU. It all gets compiled down to assembly anyway. THAT is the most popular language, even if few humans code in it nowadays all computers read it.
    • Re:This again? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jonner ( 189691 ) on Sunday September 25, 2016 @11:54PM (#52960339)

      "Assembly" is not a programming language. Rather, there is at least one "assembly language" for each CPU instruction set. More importantly, compilers rarely produce any kind of assembly language any more, though there are various types of intermediate representations used by interpreters and compilers. Every CPU executes instructions in a machine language. There are several such languages in common use, most importantly those understood by the x86 and ARM families.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        You're right, in a pedantic sort of way. It's an easily human readable translation of machine code. But in a practical sort of way, you can program in it, thus it can be considered a "language".
        • Re:This again? (Score:5, Informative)

          by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @01:04AM (#52960543) Journal

          He's not even right in a pedantic way. Assembly languages are programming languages. Not a very easy set of languages, to be sure, but then again neither is Brainfuck.

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            He's not even right in a pedantic way. Assembly languages are programming languages.

            No, the OP is right in a pedantic way. Assembly language isn't really a language, but rather a loose collection of related languages.

            As for the other poster's comment that it is basically just human-readable machine language, so is C, but nobody argues that C isn't a programming language. :-D

          • Re:This again? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @09:03AM (#52961833)

            Assembly isn't hard, however it is tedious. You have a relatively small set of commands that do simple things. So for example if you want to print something. You will need to assign the memory address/registers for your text, populate that memory address with the data. Tell where it will look for that set of data, then call the interrupt that will have the video processor turn your string to text.

            or you can use printf that does all that, and more for better performance, as it can buffer the data set and display the data more efficiently. Because the person who wrote the printf probably spent a lot of time to get that command right, while if you are working on your own app. You probably don't have the time to recreate all that work for a simple result.

      • Re:This again? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 26, 2016 @12:31AM (#52960439)

        "Assembly" is not a programming language. Rather, there is at least one "assembly language" for each CPU instruction set

        An assembly language you say?...so humans can program in it? Kind of like a programming language?

        More importantly, compilers rarely produce any kind of assembly language any more

        They do if you pass the -S flag.

        Every CPU executes instructions in a machine language. There are several such languages in common use, most importantly those understood by the x86 and ARM families.

        Yeah, computers execute machine code, assembly is the language humans write to generate machine code. Thanks.

      • I'm not a programming expert at all, and in fact whenever I need to automate something, the best I can do is write something in bash or make something GUI driven in powershell.

        But, it's my understanding that Assembly is psuedocode that translates more directly into machine code than say C. Unless you want to argue that CPU architectures directly interpret words like PUSH, INT, CALL, JMP, etc, then why wouldn't assembly be considered a programming language in the same vein as anything else?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who gives a shit?

      People interested in remaining relevant in an industry that changes at an unprecedented pace (yes, even compared to beauty pageants)

    • by drolli ( 522659 )

      I would think that assembly generated from Java has different statistics than assembly generated from C.

    • Who gives a shit?

      Something that could have been answered for you in the opening sentence of TFA.

    • I'm seeing "which is the most popular language" every month or so here.

      Don't blame the editors. They don't read read slashdot, so how would they know?

    • Re:This again? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @07:48AM (#52961497)

      It all gets compiled down to assembly anyway.

      Actually it gets compiled down to Machine Code. Assembly Language is simply Machine Code rendered in a human readable format.

      e.g. ld a,1 in Z80 assembler would be 3E01 in HEX

      • Re:This again? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by neilo_1701D ( 2765337 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @09:30AM (#52961989)

        Actually it gets compiled down to Machine Code. Assembly Language is simply Machine Code rendered in a human readable format.

        e.g. ld a,1 in Z80 assembler would be 3E01 in HEX

        Oh, the memories. To this day I can remember on my ZX81 hand-assembling 2A0C40, which loads the display file base address into the HL register pair. Calculating all those relative jumps... ugh :(

    • Re:This again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @08:52AM (#52961781)

      Well developers should be concerned about that.
      If you are a Perl Programmer, or Ruby programmer, and you see that your favorite language is falling off the list, perhaps it may be important to your career to brush up on the popular languages. I myself rarely do C or C++ programming, mostly Python, C# and Java. However every once in a while I will do and do some C/C++ coding on it to see what is new and discover things that I had learned in other languages had also been in C/C++ or was recently added to it. While my professional work, doesn't need me to use C/C++ knowing that it is still a popular language means I should keep up some practice in it.

  • Seriously, this is the dumbest most "hey lets try to generate views by ranting comments" stupid bullshit I've seen in ages. That is taking into account the completely unrelated US politics bullshit that has been barfed out of the firehose these days.

    Popularity of a language is immaterial to the usefulness of a language, to the creation of solutions with whatever language, and certainly will never have a final answer.

    What the sincere fuck Slashdot.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      They could always have asked "What computer language should Brad and Angelina's divorce be coded in?"...
      • “Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California.” – Edsger Dijkstra

        • “Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California.” – Edsger Dijkstra

          Coming from Dijkstra, who once compiled and printed a book named "Famous quotes by Dijkstra", this quote has no real value. And, BTW, OOP did not originate in California. It originated most probably in Norway.

    • Popularity of a language is immaterial to the usefulness of a language

      That would be lovely, if it were actually true.

      • That would be lovely, if it were actually true.

        Well, that statement could be interpreted in multiple ways. If you want a job, you have two choices: Go for what most employers are asking for, or go for what some employers are asking for but aren't currently getting. Having said that, popularity of a language seems inversely related to the usefulness of a language in many cases.

        Oh, and while we're here, in what possible universe are Java and C# "C-based"?! Wadler's Law [c2.com] in action...

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          The world in which a language is said to be based on another if it shares a great deal of syntactic similarity.

          For C based, this usually boils down to "uses braces to delimit blocks".

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Relax, ranting about programming languages is how geeks blow off steam to keep us from doing sinister things like hacking Trump's barber to put afro-sauce into the formula.

    • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @03:40AM (#52960937)

      Of course popularity matters.

      1. More popular languages you can find less expensive developers for...(or more total developer talent for a given amount of money)

      2. More popular languages are likely to have stackoverflow posts with examples for every single basic task and explanations about what errors mean. (before you gloat about how you don't need help from SO, have you ever faced goddamn C++ linker errors? Might as well have an Ouija board out to find out what the mistake is)

      3. More popular languages work on more computers and are likely to continue to work in the future

      4. More popular languages tend to be faster. Usually a shit ton faster. Java has gone from a bloated mess to a bloated mess that is often within spitting distance of C on performance shootouts. That's from the popularity spurring further development. C is almost always king of the hill and nothing is faster. Python? Rust? Whatever n00bs. Those languages may be nice to write complex code that only gets run occasionally but if you need high end performance they aren't going to cut it.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )

        4. More popular languages tend to be faster. Usually a shit ton faster. Java has gone from a bloated mess to a bloated mess that is often within spitting distance of C on performance shootouts. That's from the popularity spurring further development. C is almost always king of the hill and nothing is faster. Python? Rust? Whatever n00bs. Those languages may be nice to write complex code that only gets run occasionally but if you need high end performance they aren't going to cut it.

        Rust is a compiled language. It uses the same backend as Clang to produce optimized code. The code it produces as fast as C and C++ while still providing protection against data races and a raft of other issues that can crash or destabilize something written in C or C++.

        So while it may not ever gain the popularity of C or C++, the implication that its slow is wrong.

        And besides, in the real world, speed is not the only consideration. Time to market is important, reliability is important, maintenance is i

  • My Precious (Score:5, Funny)

    by ramorim ( 1257654 ) on Sunday September 25, 2016 @11:55PM (#52960347) Homepage Journal
    As you can C there is only one Programming Language to rule them all :)
    • Indeed; I still hate debugging C code written by someone else, tho'.
      Is there a language where it's easier to make hard-to-find bugs?

  • I'm amazed that computers still can not simply take commands spoken by the average speaker of the nearly universal language "English" and perform those instructions to the letter. Curly braces, tabs, spaces, none of that should matter.

    • English has ovrloaded words and ambiguities. A subset of English with strict rules of their meaning forms several languages, including COBOL.

  • The author says you should learn multiple languages, which I think is correct. The "popularity" question is really just a way to figure out which languages it's most important to brush up on if/when you're looking for your next job.

    And there's really no surprise there. The "C family of languages," and also Python, is a pretty good start.
  • by SeriousTube ( 2575581 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @12:05AM (#52960379)
    Pascal.
  • The language du jour can be the most popular topic in any given year. What really matters is how effective a language is for solving a problem and how easy it is to modify when you're solution has bugs.

    • "A good programmer can write good code in any language. A bad programmer will write bad code in all of them."
  • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @01:17AM (#52960581) Homepage Journal

    Man I am falling behind... I have never heard of the Which programming language and here we are told that it is the most popular. And I thought I was a software professional. BTW just so I have straight is it WHICH or Which or just which - I don't want to embarrass myself at the next meeting when I propose we do the next project in Which.

    • C: Which programming language is the most popular?
      A: That's right.
      C: What is?
      A: No, Which is.
      C: What?
      A: What didn't make the top 10.
      C: What didn't?
      A: That's right.
      C: ... Ok, so if I were going to program using the most common language, it would be which?
      A: Right.
      C: What's right?
      A: No, What didn't make the top 10.
      C: What didn't?
      A: Right.
      C: Which language didn't?
      A: No, Which was the top language.
      C: Which was?
      A: Right.
  • I find the best way for my skills to remain relevant is to have the day-job language(s) and learn a new one on the side. And by learn a new one I don't mean just reading a book or doing some crappy tutorial. I mean write something substantial and functional in it. Something you can stick on the resume because the project is open sourced or otherwise visible to someone who cares to look for it. Open source is best because they can see your actual code and your authorship.

    Even if the new language turns out

  • My best advice to all of you engineers in the Class of 1890 is to bet your careers on coal-powered steam. Yes, we hear talk of internal-combustion this and electric-power that, but they are all just expensive novelties. Coal is efficient, it provides for many jobs among the lower classes in the mining industry, and is also unwasteful in that most of it literally disappears into the sky, far away from the refined mouths of gentlemen like yourselves.

    Besides, the electric power proposals proposed rely on coal-

  • In other news, space is the the final frontier. And tab is eight spaces.

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