JAX London 2014: A retrospective
Op-ed

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

ElliotBentley
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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