RedMonk programming language rankings for Q1 2019

JavaScript reigns supreme while TypeScript and Julia surprise with their growth in new RedMonk report

Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
© Shutterstock / Gajus  

RedMonk’s biannual report -for the first quarter of 2019- on the state of the most popular programming languages is here. The RedMonk team also presents a neat chart that includes all the language movements from 2012 till Q1 2019. Let’s have a look.

Much like the PYPL and TIOBE indexes which provide a monthly overview of the most popular languages out there, the RedMonk rankings offer the bigger picture with the bi-annual report on the performance of various programming languages.

This time around, not only do we take a look at the ranking for the first quarter of 2019 but we also have a look at the language movements from 2012 till Q1 2019.

Let’s dig in!


First things first, let’s make some things clear in terms of methodology. Every year, RedMonk takes a look at a snapshot of the internet in January and June. Instead of looking at the hard numbers, RedMonk combines rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow. By querying languages on GitHub based on pull requests and excluding forked repos, it shows which languages are active. The Stack Overflow data is collected with the data explorer tool.

This approach encompasses both usage and discussion, giving their ranking a more nuanced look at their popularity. However, it does overemphasize larger languages, with a clearer magnification on big names like Java or Python. Smaller languages have less data available, so their places on the rankings are less reliable. (That said, everything in the top 20 is pretty certain.)

SEE ALSO: TypeScript: Everyone’s type of JavaScript

Top 20 languages

Starting off with the ranking for the first quarter fo 2019 compared to the second quarter for 2018, we see an identical top 10 and only but a couple of changes in positions 11 to 20.

Two of the most notable changes taking place in the first quarter of 2019 is TypeScript’s significant rise in popularity, while Kotlin barely makes it to the top 20! As the team behind the index noted, movement within the top 20 is much more difficult to accomplish so TypeScript’s fourth spot is notable for that reason alone, not to mention that by jumping to 12th place, it finds itself a breath away from top 10! Going back to Kotlin, it is important to note that while Kotlin grew substantially over the first quarter of 2019, all three of its fellow JVM-based counterparts, Clojure, Groovy and Scala, declined.

Another important point to mention, even though it is not visible in the top 20 list, is Julia‘s growth which has not been skyrocketing; it does, however, exhibit some slow, incremental rise jumping another two spots to the 34th place. RedMonk offers a very interesting interpretation of this growth:

While there is no technical basis for comparison, it is worth noting that three years ago in our Q1 rankings TypeScript made a similar modest jump from #33 to #31. That is not to say that Julia is destined to follow in TypeScript’s footprints, of course, but rather to serve as a reminder that while it’s uncommon languages can transition quickly from periods of slow, barely measurable growth to high, sustained growth quarter after quarter.

Source: RedMonk

Looking at the big picture, RedMonk presents us with a neat chart that includes all the language movements from 2012 till Q1 2019.

At first glance, you can see that, indeed, the movements in the top 10 are more sluggish and controlled than in the rest of the chart. From place 11 downwards, we see a lot of movement going on with languages skyrocketing into the top 20 and others falling hard!

Some of the most interesting movements seen in the bottom half of this top 20 chart are:

  • Swift‘s rather… swift jump from the 17th to 11th place
  • Perl and Haskell’s steep fall
  • Matlab appearing and disappearing without even making it past the 16th place
  • Go‘s steady growth since 2015

Source: RedMonk

If you want to find out all the relevant information about the RedMonk Language Ranking system you can check out the blog post here and here

Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou was the editor for Coming from an academic background in East Asian Studies, she decided that it was time to go back to her high-school hobby that was computer science and she dived into the development world. Other hobbies include esports and League of Legends, although she never managed to escape elo hell (yet), and she is a guest writer/analyst for competitive LoL at TGH.

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