TIOBE will announce the winner next month

Should Kotlin become the programming language of the year?

Gabriela Motroc

© Shutterstock /  n_defender

Something old, something new. Kotlin and C are the two candidates that have what it takes to become the programming language of the year, according to the latest TIOBE index. The winner will be announced next month but, in the meantime, let’s see why Kotlin deserves to win.

Kotlin and C are TIOBE’s two candidates that have what it takes to become the programming language of the year. The winner will be announced next month but, in the meantime, let’s see why Kotlin, a language “born” in 2011 deserves to win the award, especially since its competitor was developed in 1972.

C occupies the second position in the TIOBE Index for this month while Kotlin hasn’t even managed to enter the top 20 yet. Popularity is not everything although, if we were to take a look at the PYPL Index, we’d see that the programming language created by JetBrains is on fire.

PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index: Dec 2017 compared to a year ago

Proof #1: JAXenter survey — Kotlin in Top 10

Who deserves the programming language of the year award? That’s not something we can decide but, according to our survey, there are 10 positions between the two programming languages (Kotlin and C). Survey respondents were asked to rate the importance of different technologies on a scale from 1 (very interesting) to 5 (not interesting at all) and this is the result:

JAXenter survey results: Technology trends 2017

The fact that Java 9 is the queen of the survey and Java 8, 7 and 6 are the runners-up is not surprising since JAXenter’s main focus lies on Java. Scala is the most relevant JVM language right after Java, closely followed by the shooting star Kotlin! Kotlin cozies up in the top 10 before Go, DSLs, Python, Groovy, and Rust [and waaaaay before C] — a remarkable result.

Proof #2: It became a first-class language on Android

The Android team announced at Google I/O that they are adding support for Kotlin, thus making “Android development faster and more fun,” Mike Cleron, Director of the Android Platform wrote in a blog post announcing the good news.

Kotlin plays well with the Java programming language, Cleron explained. “The effortless interoperation between the two languages has been a large part of Kotlin’s appeal.” Furthermore, this programming language will be “very familiar to anyone who has used the Java programming language.”

Proof #3: RebelLabs’ Developer Productivity Report — Kotlin scored the highest satisfaction score of 9.1

RebelLabs found that the lesser used languages get the most love. Case in point: Kotlin, which made its debut at one percent in terms of language preference had the highest satisfaction score of 9.1, which happens to be the highest score across the entire report, not just the programming languages question. Impressive!

RebelLabs Developer Productivity Report 2017: Results

Proof #4: Realm Report — “Kotlin is about to change the whole Android ecosystem”

The first edition of the new Realm Report was published a couple of months ago and, according to their predictions, Kotlin will overtake Java in December 2018. The statement is even more impressive if we take into consideration the fact that support for Kotlin was added this year. 

“With Java use peaking, Kotlin is on the path to winning the Android platform,” the Realm Report shows. They even stated that this young programming language (it’s only six years old!) could “change how Java is used on the server, too. In short, Android developers without Kotlin skills are at risk of being seen as dinosaurs very soon.”

Source: Realm Report

Proof #5: Stack Overflow — Kotlin among least disliked programming languages

RebelLabs’ Developer Productivity Report 2017 showed that Kotlin is the most beloved programming language and they’re not wrong — as it turns out, Stack Overflow measured programming languages’ popularity and reached the same conclusion. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Generally, there is a relationship between a tag’s growth and how often it’s disliked. Almost everything disliked by more than 3% of stories mentioning it is shrinking in Stack Overflow traffic (except for the quite polarizing VBA, which is steady or slightly growing). And the least-disliked tags— R, Rust, Typescript and Kotlin— are all among the fast-growing tags (Typescript and Kotlin growing so quickly they had to be truncated in the plot).

David Robinson

There are surely more reasons why Kotlin deserves to become the programming language of the year. If we missed something, add your arguments in the comments section.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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