Kotlin’s a rising star in language popularity index

Other languages on the move include R, Hack, and Rust, while Python cements its position as the king of there dynamically typed languages

Boosted by its ties to Android mobile application development, Kotlin is a rising star in the Tiobe language popularity index.

The statically typed language developed by JetBrains initially for the Java Virtual Machine, reached the top 50 in the index this month for the first time, ranking 43rd, although it has a rating of just 0.346 percent. Still, this places Kotlin ahead of other more-established languages such as Groovy and Erlang. Kotlin was ranked 80th just last month.

Software quality services vendor Tiobe’s index assesses language popularity based on a formula that examines searches in popular search engines such as Google, Wikipedia, Bing, and Yahoo, looking at the number of skilled engineers, courses, and third-party vendors related to a language.

Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen sees even better days ahead for Kotlin. Unveiled in 2011, the Kotlin language could become a top-20 player in the index, he said. “It might be considered the Swift variant for Android in some ways,” Jansen said. Apple’s Swift language was ranked 12th this month, just three years after its debut. “Since Swift is in the top 20, Kotlin could reach that position too,” Jansen said. A mixture of expressive power and compilation speed might be Kotlin’s keys to success, he said.

Google recently endorsed Kotlin as an officially supported language for Android development, enhancing Kolin’s profile. JetBrains added backing for JavaScript interoperability to Kotlin earlier this year, letting developers migrate the browser front end of their applications to Kotlin while still using JavaScript development frameworks.

Another language scoring well in Tiobe’s index this month is the R language, in 14th place up from 16th place a year ago, with a rating of 2.15 percent. Also moving up in the top 50 along with Kotlin were Hack and Rust, ranked 36th and 37th place, respectively, with ratings of 0.584 for Hack and 0.479 for Rust. R is becoming the No. 1 statistical language in the world, Jansen said. Hack and Rust, meanwhile, are new languages that developers are trying out to see if they add value.

Another language continuing to do well in Tiobe’s index is Python. It was ranked fourth this month, with a 4.333 percent rating. It was the only language among the top five to not see a drop year over year compared to last June. “Python has finally won the battle among the dynamically typed languages”: Perl, Python, Ruby, and PHP, Jansen said. “It took years before it was clear which language was about to win.”

The other languages in Tiobe’s top ten for June are:

  1. Java, ranked at 14.493 percent
  2. C (6.848 percent)
  3. C++ (5.723 percent)
  4. Python (4.333 percent)
  5. C# (3.53 percent)
  6. Visual Basic.Net (3.111 percent)
  7. JavaScript (3.025 percent)
  8. PHP (2.774 percent)
  9. Perl (2.309 percent)
  10. assembly (2.252 percent)

Python is doing even better in the alternative PyPL Popularity of Programming Language index, coming in second place with a 15.7 percent share this month. The PyPL index is based on an analysis of language tutorial searches in Google. Here are its rankings this month:

  1. Java (22.7 percent)
  2. Python (15.7 percent)
  3. PHP (9.3 percent)
  4. C# (8.3 percent)
  5. JavaScript (7.9 percent)
  6. C++ (6.9 percent)
  7. C (6.7 percent)
  8. Objective-C (3.8 percent)
  9. R (3.6 percent)
  10. Swift (2.8 percent)

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