Still kicking

Java still top but chasing pack closing, RedMonk finds

Chris Mayer

Increasing language fragmentation is biggest threat to Java’s future, but it’s still riding high according to the latest rankings

Critics of Java are often quick to decry the death of their
least favourite programming language, but perhaps they shouldn’t be
so hasty.

The latest
from developer analysts RedMonk are in for Q3, showing
that Java has edged to the top of the pile, but only just.

RedMonk Programming Language Rankings
measures the traction of
languages on two of the biggest communities out there, by
correlating the number of tags on Stack Overflow questions against
the number of GitHub projects in that given language. The results
are shown below. Given the size of data on show, it might be worth
checking out the weekly version

RedMonk’s Stephen O’Grady is quick to point out
that Java is “technically tied with JavaScript rather than ahead of
it.” JavaScript holds top spot on GitHub, but is lagging behind in
fourth on Stack Overflow whereas Java takes silver and bronze on
Stack Overflow and GitHub respectively. Rounding out the top five
are fellow Tier One languages PHP, Python and Ruby.

According to O’Grady, the top 10 remains static
from the Q1 snapshot, hence why no rankings were taken in Q2. JVM
languages Groovy has broken into the top 20 programming languages
(#18), while Scala remains the frontrunner of the Tier 2 languages
at #12. Another JVM dialect, the functional Clojure, is at

By taking a glance at other language rankings,
we can see that Java is still riding high. The

(which uses search engines as an
indicator) has the object-oriented language at No.2, pipped by C.

PYPL Index
, which looks at how often
language tutorials are searched for on Google as its data, has Java
well out ahead with 26.5%, suggesting there is going to be a great
interest in working with the language for some time yet.

So what does the latest rankings tell us? Well,
not very much. RedMonk know that this metric is merely a snapshot
of two communities and shouldn’t be taken as gospel, and state as
much. What the RedMonk rankings do show us is that the expanding
language landscape is continuing to fragment, as shown by the
number of languages sitting in the first two tiers.

The en vogue upstarts of the programming world are
threatening the old guard, while there’s still room for both. This
is undoubtedly healthy for the software community, showing great
diversity in the number of tools you can select to do the job. Java
will of course eventually lose its place to trendier languages in
time, but you can’t see this for the foreseeable future.

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