Movers and shakers
For those who challenge the notion of the Top 10 not being as static in the rankings as suggested, O’Grady wasn’t taking the bait:
While we see periodic arguments from advocates of a particular language, or a particular style or type of language, the simple fact is that the group of the most popular languages has changed little and shows little propensity for future change… This raises some interesting questions about language adoption and whether fragmentation has reached its apogee.
However, outside the Top 10, O’Grady recognised the potential of newcomers Go and Swift, saying that they could very well be the first two potential challengers for the Top 10 that they’ve seen in a while.
Google’s Go was predicted by RedMonk to break into the Top 20 within a six to twelve month timeframe, before this goal was achieved in January’s ranking report. Commenting on its upward trajectory, O’Grady notes that although a period of disillusionment was evident, “none of the periodic criticism has had any apparent impact on the project’s growth”.
He’s also suggested that the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Google vs Oracle copyright saga could positively impact the amount of adoption we see with Go in the future.
Swift’s meteoric rise to the Top 20 may have been influenced by Apple’s WWDC, with the results before and after the event differing somewhat. Before the conference, RedMonk attempted to run its usual analysis, however due to a change in page structure, their automated Stack Overflow scrape had failed.
In order to collect the data required, they narrowed their scope for a partial run of data, with the result seeing Swift settle for a tie with Lua at number #21. After Apple’s WWDC, and when a complete set of Stack Overflow data was available, the required data was once again collected and saw Swift’s ranking jump to number #18.
Regardless of the difference, there’s no denying that the jump from #68 to #18, and it’s cracking of the Top 20 list in less than a year, means that Swift is growing faster than anything else RedMonk currently tracks. “The forthcoming release of Swift as open source and availability of builds for Linux, as well, should theoretically provide even more momentum going forward”.
O’Grady’s final thoughts for the ranking turned to how the two new languages on the block could penetrate the static and stoic Top 10:
At a minimum, Go would have to displace Objective C, Perl, Shell, R and Scala. Perl and Shell are everywhere but lack the volume of languages higher up the spectrum, while R and Scala are very popular languages but specifically purposed. The best bet for weakening Objective C, meanwhile, is accelerating Swift adoption. Swift, for its part, has to tackle the above list, as well as Matlab, Haskell and Go itself.
RedMonk’s full analysis is available here.