Op-ed

“Is Java Losing Its Mojo?” asks Wired. JAXenter replies: “no”

Elliot Bentley
tiobe-teaser

It may have been displaced on the TIOBE index, but we argue that it’s far too early to write Java off.

“Is Java Losing Its Mojo?”
asks Wired in a recent blog post
discussing Java’s recent
performance on the TIOBE index (seen above). In April, Java was

dislodged from the top of the chart
for the first time in over
six years by the far older C language, and has been stuck in second
place since.

Paul Jansen, managing director of Tiobe Software, told Wired
that he believed Java has been slipping since its purchase by
Oracle in 2009: “C is not number one because it is rising, but it
is because Java is falling down.”

A closer look at Java’s performance on the
TIOBE index
since 2002 reveals a decade-long downward trend
(with a sudden drop in 2004 as a result of Google changing its
algorithm). It’s less dramatic than Jansen suggests, although
worrying long-term.

However, not all indexes of programming languages agree with
TIOBE, which is based on the number of search results for each
language. The newer
PYPL (PopularitY of Programming Language) index
, shown
above, claims to provide a more accurate comparison by taking
into account the number of searches rather the number of existing
pages, and by using the term ‘tutorial’ instead of ‘programming’.
According to PYPL, Java has remained consistently popular for the
past eight years.

In addition, Stephen O’Grady of analysts RedMonk also carries out a
bi-annual ranking of programming languages based on their
popularity on Stack Overflow and GitHub. Last September, his data
also suggested that
Java was the #2 language in the world
– but behind JavaScript,
rather than C. In comparison, the TIOBE index lists JavaScript at
tenth place.

JAXenter’s take? Even if Java’s popularity is on the wane, it’s
still far from irrelevant. Android’s popularity continues to grow,
and with the long-awaited release of Java 8 this year, Oracle are
finally finding their feet as the language’s “stewards”. So, no,
Wired – Java hasn’t lost its mojo just
yet.

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