If you’re a programmer then 2012 doesn’t look like being a year to make any drastic changes to your coding repertoire. The end of 2011 saw the usual suspects topping the list of most popular programming languages.
That said, technology is a mercurial sector to work in at the best of times, so who’s to say something new won’t come from left field before the year’s out.
There are some small signs of change a-coming: the Tiobe Programming Community Index, which assesses the popularity of different programming languages, noted late last year that smaller languages are growing in popularity, in particular those that run on the Java Virtual Machine. Groovy entered the index at 45 and Clojure also appeared in the top 100. While unlikely to take pole position away from Java, the arrival of these newcomers should serve as a reminder that coding languages, like technologies, come and go.
The Tiobe index ranks languages by the number of engineers using or studying them, as well as the number of associated third-party vendors. These figures are determined by looking at search engine data and other major web destinations (e.g., YouTube and Wikipedia) in order to gain a good general overview of language usage numbers and patterns.
Tiobe’s data suggests that fourth-placed C# is a good bet for the year ahead: the Microsoft language's growing popularity with developers finally looks set to overtake C++ in 2012. At the close of 2011 the Tiobe index ranked C++ the third most popular language – barely - at 8.252%, with C#, preferred by 8.205% of developers. C++ has ranked third in the index for ten years now, despite occasional challenges from the likes of Perl, Visual Basic, and PHP, none of which look set to mount further serious challenges in 2012.
It’s worth noting that C++ is better suited to mobile applications – a booming area - than its nearest rival, meaning that a C# blitzkrieg in 2012 is by no means guaranteed and may be no more than a temporary boost.
Top of the index were the big boys, Java and C. But it was close. With 17.56%, Java remains the favourite for 2012, but must be looking anxiously in its rear-view mirror at C, which had 17.057%...
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