TIOBE Index for May 2018

Scala cracks the top 20 in major TIOBE reshuffle

Jane Elizabeth
© Shutterstock / Marcio Jose Bastos Silva

Big changes on the popular programming language index, as Scala leaps upwards to crack the top twenty. It’s not the only major adjustment for May’s TIOBE Index, as Google’s re-indexing causes titanic shifts for Go, R, and Swift.

We like to keep an eye on the programming language horse races here at JAXenter. And by horse races, I mean roller coaster rides: this month’s TIOBE Index is a doozy. Thanks to Google’s recent re-indexing, May’s list is a little different than normal. What does that mean for your favorite programming language?

The TIOBE Programming Community index charts the popularity of various programming languages, showing what’s in vogue among developers. It’s a lagging indicator, but it does show the breadth and diversity of the field quite well.

Here’s the TIOBE Index for May 2018.


Not much seems to have changed for the top languages. Java continues to reign supreme, followed by C/C++, and Python. It’s further down the list where the big changes are happening.

SEE MORE: SQL rejoins TIOBE Index while Python continues to climb

Scala’s meteoric rise

Scala has jumped a whopping 11 positions on the chart since May 2017 to land at #20. This isn’t the first time Scala cracked the top twenty, but it might be a sign for future relevance. Recent news out of the Scala universe about the 2.3 release and Dotty might have encouraged more to sign on to this functional programming language.

Scala’s re-entry into the top twenty is hardly surprising. It’s a useful substitute for Java and can be run in parallel with Java on the JVM. It’s easier for beginners as a functional language, making it hard to make critical errors when coding. Plus, as Scala creator Martin Odersky pointed out, “Scala has been quite stable over the last five years.”

We love Scala a lot, but its rise might have something to do with the monumental reshuffling going on this month due to a recent Google re-indexing. Developers should expect to see volatile changes for the next few months. TIOBE plans on implementing some compensation for the wild swings in the future. Why? Well, the current data suggests that Google hits for any given language have been cut in half, compared to previous months.

SEE MORE: Countdown to Scala 3 – Dotty confirmed for Scala 3.0

This should explain the other changes on the top 20. First, let’s take a look at all the programming languages that have done well with this methodology change. PHP’s slight hop upwards isn’t too unusual, but Ruby, R, and Go have all sustained more than modest increases. In particular, Delphi has done quite well. And, of course, Scala cracked the top twenty for the first time in quite a while.

However, what must rise must also fall. JavaScript suffered a slight loss (which is probably statistical noise, let’s be honest). But programming languages like Perl and Swift have dropped considerably in one month. We have been monitoring both of these languages for some time. Previous data has suggested a gentle decline of dynamically typed languages – making this month’s chart extra weird.  And, of course, Swift’s troubled adolescence has been well documented.

Perhaps May 2018 is a statistical outlier and should not be counted. But we’ll see how things shake out next month on the TIOBE Index.

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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