TIOBE Programming Community Index for December 2009



TIOBE Programming Community Index for December 2009

December Headline: All time highs for C#, Objective-C and ActionScript

This month company-related programming languages are in the spotlight. Microsoft's C# language reached its highest ranking ever. Chances are high C# will become TIOBE's programming language of the year 2009. Another language that set a personal record was Apple's Objective-C. It is getting closer to the top 10 every month and has now officially reached status "A". But also Adobe's ActionScript had a high score. It re-entered the top 20. Other breaking news is that software giant Google released its first own programming language last month. The language is called Go. It will be monitored in the TIOBE index as of next month.

The TIOBE Programming Community index gives an indication of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. The popular search engines Google, MSN, Yahoo!, Wikipedia and YouTube are used to calculate the ratings. Observe that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

The index can be used to check whether your programming skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. The definition of the TIOBE index can be found here.

Dec 2009
Dec 2008
Delta in Position Programming Language Ratings
Dec 2009
Dec 2008
1 1 Java 17.061% -2.31%   A
2 2 C 16.285% +0.12%   A
3 4 PHP 9.770% +0.29%   A
4 3 C++ 9.175% -1.72%   A
5 5 (Visual) Basic 7.778% -1.70%   A
6 6 C# 6.258% +1.61%   A
7 7 Python 5.185% +0.62%   A
8 9 JavaScript 3.515% +0.45%   A
9 8 Perl 2.692% -0.91%   A
10 11 Ruby 2.653% +0.34%   A
11 10 Delphi 2.301% -0.75%   A
12 13 PL/SQL 1.494% +0.35%   A
13 35 Objective-C 1.159% +1.00%   A
14 14 SAS 0.911% +0.07%   A
15 19 Lisp/Scheme 0.881% +0.37%   A--
16 17 ABAP 0.723% +0.12%   A-
17 15 Pascal 0.698% +0.01%   B
18 21 ActionScript 0.655% +0.17%   B
19 12 D 0.587% -0.60%   B
20 20 Lua 0.585% +0.09%   B


Long term trends

The long term trends for the top 10 programming languages can be found in the line diagram below.

Other programming languages

The complete top 50 of programming languages is listed below. This overview is published unofficially, because it could be the case that we missed a language. If you have the impression there is a programming language lacking, please notify us at [email protected].

Position Programming Language Ratings
21 MATLAB 0.580%
22 Scratch 0.483%
23 COBOL 0.462%
24 Fortran 0.425%
25 Ada 0.407%
26 Logo 0.392%
27 FoxPro/xBase 0.392%
28 Awk 0.356%
29 S-lang 0.330%
30 RPG (OS/400) 0.329%
31 Alice 0.326%
32 Transact-SQL 0.309%
33 Scala 0.294%
34 PowerShell 0.286%
35 Prolog 0.286%
36 Erlang 0.277%
37 NXT-G 0.277%
38 Tcl/Tk 0.251%
39 Forth 0.226%
40 Bourne shell 0.213%
41 PL/I 0.208%
42 Focus 0.203%
43 Haskell 0.190%
44 Groovy 0.170%
45 MAX/MSP 0.168%
46 LabVIEW 0.168%
47 LabWindows/CVI 0.164%
48 C shell 0.151%
49 Smalltalk 0.150%
50 JavaFX Script 0.146%

The Next 50 Programming Languages

The following list of languages denotes #51 to #100. Since the differences are relatively small, the programming languages are only listed (in alphabetical order).

  • 4th Dimension/4D, ABC, AD, Algol, APL, Applescript, Beta, Boo, Caml/F#, cg, CL (OS/400), Clean, Clojure, Cobra, cT, Curl, Euphoria, Factor, Falcon, Fan, Icon, IDL, Inform, Informix-4GL, J, Lingo, MAD, Mathematica, ML, Modula-2, Modula-3, MOO, MUMPS, Natural, Occam, Oz, PowerBuilder, Progress, Q, R, REALbasic, Revolution, REXX, SIGNAL, SPSS, SuperCollider, VBScript, Verilog, VHDL, XSLT


December Newsflash - Brought to you by Paul Jansen

  • This month the following changes have been made to the definition of the index:
    • John Campbell suggested to add Unicon to Icon grouping
    • Ze'ev Atlas observed that TSQL should be added to Transact-SQL grouping
    • The SmallTalk grouping has been extended with VisualWorks, Pharo, Croquet thanks to Jason Ayers. He also suggested to start monitoring the EToys programming language
    • Alejandro Quiroga Alsina asked an interesting question about how we count hits for groupings. The answer is added to the FAQ section of the TIOBE index
    • There are still lots of mails that need to be processed. As soon as I have got some time I will answer them. Please be patient.
  • To see the bigger picture, please find the positions of the top 10 programming languages from 4, 10 and 25 years ago in the table below.

    Programming Language Position
    Dec 2009
    Dec 2005
    Dec 1999
    Dec 1984
    Java 1 1 3 -
    C 2 2 1 1
    PHP 3 4 13 -
    C++ 4 3 2 11
    (Visual) Basic 5 5 4 4
    C# 6 7 20 -
    Python 7 8 28 -
    JavaScript 8 9 12 -
    Perl 9 6 5 -
    Ruby 10 24 - -

  • The previous winners of the "Language of the Year" award are shown below.

    Year Winner
    2008 C
    2007 Python
    2006 Ruby
    2005 Java
    2004 PHP
    2003 C++

  • In the tables below some long term trends are listed about categories of languages. The object-oriented paradigm won another 2.4% to procedural languages in one month's time. The popularity of dynamically typed languages seems to stabilize (see trend diagram below).

    Category Ratings Dec 2009 Delta Dec 2008
    Object-Oriented Languages 55.1% -0.4%
    Procedural Languages 39.9% -0.5%
    Functional Languages 3.3% +0.6%
    Logical Languages 1.7% +0.3%

    Category Ratings Dec 2009 Delta Dec 2008
    Statically Typed Languages 57.7% -1.7%
    Dynamically Typed Languages 42.3% +1.7%


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What definition of programming languages has been used?

    A: A language is considered a programming language if it is Turing complete. As a consequence, HTML and XML are not considered programming languages. This also holds for data query language SQL. SQL is not a programming language because it is, for instance, impossible to write an infinite loop in it. On the other hand, SQL extensions PL/SQL and Transact-SQL are programming languages. ASP and ASP.NET are also not programming languages because they make use of other languages such as JavaScript and VBScript or .NET compatible languages. The same is true for frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, Cocoa, and technologies such as AJAX. Finally, we have also excluded assembly languages, although Turing complete, because they have a very different nature.

  • Q: How are dialects of languages grouped?

    A: Some languages are grouped together because they are very similar to each other. An example is the language entry Basic which covers Visual Basic, QBasic, Microsoft Basic, etc. VB.NET has been added as well to the Visual Basic entry because it is often referred to as Visual Basic. The ratings for a collection of languages is calculated by taking the maximum of all individual entries (not its sum!).

  • Q: Why is the maximum taken to calculate the ranking for a grouping, why not the sum?

    A: Well, you can do it either way and both are wrong. If you take the sum, then you get the intersection twice (pages that mention for instance both Visual Basic 6.0 and VB.NET). If you take the max, then you miss the difference. Which one to choose? Suppose somebody comes up with a new search term that is 10% of the original. If you take the max, nothing changes. If you take the sum then the ratings will rise 10%. So taking the sum will be an incentive for some to come up with all kinds of obscure terms for a language. That's why we decided to take the max.

    The proper way to solve this is is of course to take the sum and subtract the intersection. This will give rise to an explosion of extra queries that must be performed. Suppose a language has a grouping of 15 terms (such as the xBase/FoxPro grouping), then you have to perform 32,768 queries (all combinations of intersections). So this seems not possible either... If somebody has a solution for this, please let us know.

  • Q: Am I allowed to show the TIOBE index in my weblog/presentation/publication?

    A: This is OK provided that you refer to its original source: www.tiobe.com.

  • Q: I would like to have the complete data set of the TIOBE index. Is this possible?

    A: We spent a lot of effort to obtain all the data and keep the TIOBE index up to date. In order to compensate a bit for this, we ask a fee of 1,500 US$ for the complete data set. This might seem a lot of money but it is considered strategic data. The data set runs from June 2001 till today. It started with 25 languages back in 2001, and now measures more than 150 languages at least 10 times per month. The data are availabe in comma separated format. Part of the deal is that new data will be send to you for 1 extra year. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

  • Q: What happened to Java in April 2004? Did you change your methodology?

    A: No, we did not change our methodology at that time. Google changed its methodology. They performed a general sweep action to get rid of all kinds of web sites that had been pushed up. As a consequence, there was a huge drop for languages such as Java and C++. In order to minimize such fluctuations in the future, we added two more search engines (MSN and Yahoo) a few months after this incident.

  • Q: Why is YouTube used as a search engine for the TIOBE index?

    A: First of all, YouTube counts only for 7% of all ratings, so it has hardly any influence on the index. YouTube has been added as an experiment. It qualified for the TIOBE index because of its high ranking on Alexa. YouTube is a young platform (so an indicator for popularity) and there are quite some lectures, presentations, programming tips and language introductions available on YouTube.