JavaScript rules the school, but C++ climbs in popularity

JavaScript rules the school, but C++ climbs in popularity

C++ is the biggest gainer in language popularity so far this year, but JavaScript remains stalwart

C++ is making big gains in the monthly Tiobe language popularity index, while JavaScript continues to rule the day.

The venerated C++ language has been Tiobe's biggest climber so far since July 2014, according to a report accompanying the July index. "Compared to last year, C++ gained more than 3.1 percent, leaving Java (plus 2 percent), C# (plus 1.6 percent) and Python (up 1.6 percent) behind," the report states. C++ has a rating of 8.641 percent in July, compared to 5.521 percent a year ago. Tiobe bases language popularity on a formula that assesses searches on languages on sites like Google, Wikipedia, and Bing.

Formalized in 2011, C++ 11 introduced capabilities like standard and type-safe support for thread-level and lock-free concurrency. C++ 14, completed last year, expanded on version 11 while adding the ability to express Lambdas generically, among other improvements. In an interview with InfoWorld last summer, C++ designer Bjarne Stroustrup said the language's sweet spot is its ability to handle complexity while still running fast.

Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen sees the recent support for C++ 11 in compilers as helping the language's cause. "This is the moment we see that industrial projects are making the choice to adopt these new C++11 compilers and use the new language features," he said in an email.

The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings for June, published earlier this month, again had JavaScript as its top language, followed by Java, the same as the January rankings. These rankings are based on an assessment of language discussions on Stack Overflow and usage on GitHub. The difference between numerical rankings of JavaScript and Java is slight, RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady said in his report accompanying the rankings. "[JavaScript's] sustained performance, however, reflects the language's versatility and growing strategic role amongst startups and enterprises alike."

RedMonk also saw Google's Go language jump to the number 15 position after being ranked 17th six months ago. But CoffeeScript, a JavaScript variant, dropped again. "From its high ranking of 17 in Q3 of 2013, in the four runs since, it has clocked in at 18, 18, 21, and now 22. It's not impossible that the language finds a foothold and at least stabilizes its position, but its prospects for re-entering the Top 20 appear dim both because of its own lack of momentum and the competition around it." Tiobe, however, recently said CoffeeScript was becoming more popular as a JavaScript alternative.

Following Java in the RedMonk rankings were PHP and Python, with C#, C++, and Ruby in a three-way tie for fifth place. RedMonk sees Go and Apple's Swift, ranked 18th, as languages to pay attention to going forward. "Between Go's increasing popularity as a modern back end language and Swift's bid for traction outside of the iOS landscape, the next few iterations of this list will be interesting to watch."

Tiobe's top five languages for July were Java (17.728 percent rating), C (16.147 percent), C++, C# (5.652 percent) and Python (4.257 percent). In the alternative The PyPL Popularity of Programming Language Index, which analyzes how often language tutorials are searched on in Google, had Java as its top language this month with a 24.5 percent share, followed by PHP (11.4 percent), Python (11.1 percent), C# (9.2 percent), and C++ (7.7 percent).

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