The it girl of IT is Julia

Julia takes the stage while PHP continues its five-year slump

Jane Elizabeth
© Shutterstock / Von VicW

Programming languages go through cycles; it’s up to us to know when to switch to the latest new thing. Here’s a look at the internet’s collective wisdom about programming language: the PYPL Index! Looks like Python and Java are on top, Julia is rising quickly, and PHP continues to slump for the 5th year in a row.

The collective wisdom of the internet might skew heavily towards Monty Python jokes and cat photos, but it’s also a good way to keep track of how different programming languages are doing. After all, it’s important to keep track of trends and see what languages everyone else is using. How else will developers learn that the it girl of IT is Julia?

With the PYPL Index, rankings are based on Google searches for language tutorials. Essentially, the more times a language tutorial is searched, the more popular the language is assumed to be. The PYPL Index data is sourced directly from Google Trends.

While we regularly check in on the TIOBE Index, the PYPL Index is a bit different. It’s a leading indicator, not a lagging one. The TIOBE index counts the number of web pages with the language name, so older languages like Objective-C have a comparative advantage. By searching for tutorials, the PYPL ensures that it is focusing on beginners for any language.

Hello, Julia! Goodbye, PHP!

So, what are people into? Here’s the PYPL Index for February 2019.


Source: PYPL Index.

Comparing it to this month’s TIOBE, we can certainly see a few similarities and some big differences! For one, Groovy doesn’t even rank on the PYPL Index.

Between reaching 1.0 last year and its newfound love for machine learning, Julia is on a roll. It’s gaining fans fast and working its way up both charts. Julia is definitely one of the newer languages to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Julia boasts fast performances while still being easy for beginners to learn, since its high-level of technical computing shares a familiar syntax to other technical computing languages. Plus, use cases include things like data science, machine learning, scientific computing, and parallel computing.

SEE ALSO: All eyes on Julia: The language’s growth and creators’ AMA

Languages like Python, Java, and JavaScript remain at the top no matter which index you look at. But TypeScript is also riding high, along with Scala, Kotlin, and Go. These languages may not have a lot of heft on the TIOBE index, but it looks like lots of new developers are trying them out.

However, as some languages may rise, others must fall. PHP in particular has had a rough couple of years. It has officially lost the most popularity in the last five years. Ouch. Perhaps developers are wary of learning a language that lacks crucial official support? Although many sites on the internet are still using PHP, they’re mostly using a version that came out roughly 15 years ago.

Additionally, although Perl, Lua, Ruby, and Haskell are losing interest on the PYPL, they are still in the top end when compared to the TIOBE. Their time might have passed there, but they still have curb appeal to those developers just starting.

So, if you believe in collective wisdom, the PYPL index has got you covered. Let it help you decide which language to study or use!

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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