TIOBE Index for April 2018

SQL rejoins TIOBE Index while Python continues to climb

Jane Elizabeth
© Shutterstock / Paladin12

Big news for the TIOBE Index, as SQL rejoins the top 20 after a long hiatus. This month, Java reigns supreme, Python jumps past C#, and Swift continues to freefall.

Here at JAXenter, we like to keep a finger on the pulse of the tech world. What better way than regularly checking in on the TIOBE Index? The TIOBE Programming Community index charts the popularity of various programming languages, showing what’s still in vogue among developers.

Here’s the top twenty list for April 2018.


SEE MORE: Do you want to know more about SQL? Here are some useful tools

SQL? On this list?

This month shows something of a surprise: SQL rejoins the list at #9. In fact, take a look at SQL’s TIOBE history. There’s a decade-long blank spot in TIOBE’s ranking for this popular database manager.


What gives? Well, TIOBE only ranks languages if they are Turing complete. For a programming language, that means it is able to simulate a Turing machine by expressing all tasks accomplished by computers (assuming there are no limitations of finite memory).

Previously, SQL was not considered to be Turing complete, much like HTML, XML and JSON. However, declarative SQL is now considered to be Turing complete through recursive common table expressions. This means that procedural extensions to SQL like PLSQL are also considered to be Turing complete.

That being said, it’s not like SQL is exactly a dark horse. According to the TOPDB Tope Database Index, various SQL iterations have remained popular all this time. MySQL is a close second to Oracle for databases, followed by SQL Server and PostgresSQL. SQL may not have been recognized by TIOBE until quite recently, but it is certainly well represented on the database top 20.

SEE MORE: Kotlin is rising, Go is plateauing, and Scala may be at the start of a backslide

More interesting tidbits: Java remains at the top of the pack, quelle surprise. Python also continues to rise month after month, thanks to increased interest in machine learning. This second life means that Python has definitively outlived and outlasted many of the other scripting languages, including Ruby, Perl, and PHP.

Also, in other interesting news, Swift continues to drop on the charts. Swift’s fast ascension has been matched by its quick downfall. But why? As we talked about this last year, maintaining code bases in two languages is a pain.

Until recently it was quite common to program Android apps in Java and iOS apps in Swift/Objective-C. This is quite cumbersome because you have to maintain two code bases that are doing almost the same. So frameworks for mobile hybrid apps were developed and now that they have grown mature these are becoming very popular. Market leaders in this area are Microsoft’s Xamarin (C#), Apache’s Cordova (JavaScript) and Ionic (JavaScript). The consequences of all of this are that languages such as C# and JavaScript are gaining popularity at the cost of languages such as Java and Swift.

Now that there are more options available, Swift may continue on its current path. Only time will tell.

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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