Transact-WTF

Top programming languages list of 2013 throws up surprise winner

With 2013 done and dusted, one clear winner for the biggest mover out of all the programming languages on the TIOBE index has emerged. And it’s… Transact-SQL. Of course! What, were you thinking it would be something like JavaScript, Java, or Python - which placed first, second, and third, respectively on the annual Twitter programming languages survey (#Code2013) - you know, something you might have actually talked about within the last couple of months?

#Code2013 : the results. Can you spot Transact-SQL?

Compiling a top ranking of programming language adoption is a contentious issue. The TIOBE Programming Community Index, which measures the number of search engine results including Google, Bing, Youtube and Wikipedia, is perhaps most well known index, but is also often criticized for being inherently flawed. For example, a Chinese bot attack sent Groovy hurtling up the rankings last fall, only to see it crash back equally rapidly when the foul play was uncovered.

Nonetheless, indexes such as TIOBE do represent a handy barometer for how much interest a language is generating, and at least an indication of the number of skilled engineers, courses and jobs worldwide utilising any given language variant. In the case of Transact-SQL, it comes out on top by virtue of the fact that, “actually not much happened in 2013”.

Having gained almost one percent popularity over the past 12 months (a boost of 0.98%), it’s followed in the index by Objective-C (up 0.81%) and F# (up a relatively pithy 0.53 percent). As the compilers point out, it’s a bit incongruous that Transact-SQL should have risen in the tables at all, as Microsoft database engine, SQLServer, is actually falling in popularity.

Mobile app development and web remained key trends in the past year, and as a result, Java has been hugely boosted by Android development, as has Objective-C, driven by iOS development. In spite of JavaScript’s popularity over in the Twittersphere, it remains stable at number nine on the index.

Here’s a snapshot of the top twenty, demonstrating the relatively dramatic upward trajectory of Transact-SQL against other languages. 


In spite of all the hype around newer languages at the most recent Devoxx event, there hasn’t been any dramatic shift for Dart (currently at 124) or TypeScript (standing in 205th place) on the TIOBE league. It’ll be interesting to see if these interlopers continue to stagnate in the lower echelons of the leagues tables in 2014 - we’re certainly holding out for another surprise come January 2014.

Image by Pasukaru

Lucy Carey

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