Ruby’s decline in popularity may be permanent

Still in the top 10 of RedMonk’s language rankings, Ruby faces tough competition from Go, Rust, Swift, and Kotlin

Ruby has had a reputation as a user-friendly language for building web applications. But its slippage in this month’s RedMonk Programming Language Rankings has raised questions about where exactly the language stands among developers these days.

The twice-yearly RedMonk index ranked Ruby at eighth, the lowest position ever for the language. “Swift and now Kotlin are the obvious choices for native mobile development. Go, Rust, and others are clearer modern choices for infrastructure,” said RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady. “The web, meanwhile, where Ruby really made its mark with Rails, is now an aggressively competitive and crowded field.”

Although O’Grady noted that Ruby remains “tremendously popular,” participants on sites such as Hacker News and Quora have increasingly questioned whether Ruby is dying. In the Redmonk rankings, Ruby peaked at fourth place in 2013, reinforcing the perception is in decline, if a slow one.

The rankings were:

  1. JavaScript
  2. Java
  3. Python
  4. PHP
  5. C#
  6. C++
  7. CSS
  8. Ruby
  9. C
  10. Objective-C

RedMonk’s rankings are based on a formula that examines pull requests on GitHub as well as language discussions on Stack Overflow. The RedMonk rankings’ methodolog differs from those used in the monthly Tiobe and PyPL language popularity rankings, which use formulas based on internet searches.

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