The wheels on the TIOBE index go round and round

Swift’s popularity has gone into free fall, TIOBE index shows

Gabriela Motroc

© Shutterstock / tawan

We’ve recently noticed a change in readers’ interest towards Swift but then again, in tech, everything changes at the speed of light. However, we’re not the only ones who noticed that — according to this month’s TIOBE index, Swift is losing popularity. What triggered the change? We can only speculate.

I remember this like it was yesterday — earlier this year, Swift cracked the top ten programming languages list. Now it occupies the 16th position in the TIOBE index (not so dramatic, right?) but the bad news is that it is constantly declining month after month.

 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.

TIOBE Index for October 2017


Crunching the numbers

If we look at the PYPL popularity of programming language index for October 2017, the situation is not that dramatic — Swift occupies the 10th position. If you want to see how popular Swift is in your country, put this chart to good use.

In all fairness, there is a big difference between TIOBE and PYPL. According to the latter’s FAQ, “the TIOBE index counts the number of web pages with the language name” while the PYPL popularity of programming language index is created “by analyzing how often language tutorials are searched on Google.”

If we look at our own numbers, Swift occupies the 13th position. Survey respondents were asked to rate the importance of different technologies on a scale from 1 (very interesting) to 5 (not interesting at all).

JAXenter survey results: Programming languages trends 2017

Conclusion? That’s yours to make. 

SEE ALSO: SwiftKotlin: Comes in handy when you want to translate Swift code into Kotlin

Have you tried Swift 4?

Swift 4 became available last month. The latest release promises even more robustness and stability. Other perks include source code compatibility with Swift 3, improvements to the standard library, and new features like archival and serialization.

Swift 4 is a major language update. Here are some of the changes and updates:

  • Swift 4 includes a faster, easier to use String implementation that retains Unicode correctness and adds support for creating, using and managing substrings.
  • Adds improvements for creating, using and managing Collection types.
  • Swift 4 supports archival of struct and enum types and enables type-safe serialization to external formats such as JSON and plist.

SEE ALSO: Swift 4 is here: More stability, compatibility and robustness

What to expect from Swift 5

As we reported a couple of months ago, the primary focus of Swift 5 will be ABI stability for the Swift Standard Library.

According to the file published on the swift-evolution repository, “ABI stability enables OS vendors to embed a Swift Standard Library and runtime in the OS that is compatible with applications built with Swift 5 or later. Progress towards achieving ABI stability will be tracked at a high level on the ABI Dashboard.”

Although ABI stability is the center focus of Swift 5, it is only one of two pieces needed to support binary frameworks. The second half is module stability — although it is “a stretch goal for Swift 5,” even without it, the primary value of ABI stability can still be achieved.

Read more about what to expect from Swift 5 here


If you want to learn more about Swift, you definitely need to attend Ian Partridge’s JAX London session which gives you an introduction to the Swift language, where and when you might use it and shows you how it compares when building a real application server application in Swift and Java.


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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