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What languages are dominating GitHub and StackOverflow?

Lucy Carey

Java and JavaScript top RedMonk Programming Language Rankings, and Swift makes a rather modest debut.

What’s dominating GitHub and StackOverflow? Well, according to the latest RedMonk Programming Language Rankings – introduced by the ‘Monks as a substitute for the now defunct GitHub leagues – it’s Java and JavaScript, which usually do-si-do between respective first and second spots. By the way, in case you had the same knee-jerk gasp of indignation as us, Java and JavaScript are tied in the top spot, not lumped together as one.

Now that’s cleared up, let’s take a closer look at the top ten. Since the first of RedMonk’s biannual reports for 2014, there’s been little change among the major players, with the following languages taking the premier positions :

1. Java / JavaScript

3. PHP

4. Python

5. C #

6. C + / Ruby

8. CSS

9. C

10. Objective-C

There was a little more activity in the ‘teens’ spots, as we can see, with Perl dropping down two places from January, and Clojure and Groovy drawing even at number 19:

11. Shell

12.  Perl

13. R

14. Scala

15. Haskell

16. Matlab

17. Visual Basic

18. CoffeeScript

19. Clojure / Groovy

As ever, it’s worth taking these rankings with a pinch of salt. It’s not possible to decipher how representative of the market as a whole RedMonk’s data truly is, and how qualitative conclusions about issues like “outlook” or “popularity” can be drawn on this basis. For a fuller picture, it may well be worth taking into account other rankings, such as the TIOBE Index, which lists the top twenty as thus:

1.   C

2.   Java

3.   Objective-C

4.   C + +

5.   C #

6.   (Visual) Basic

7.   PHP

8.   Python

9.   JavaScript

10. Visual Basic. NET

11. Transact-SQL

12.  Perl

13.  Ruby

14.  ActionScript

15.  F #

16.  Lisp

17.  Delphi / Object Pascal

18.  Pascal


20.  Assembly

Overall, RedMonk report a little more movement than is typical, but overall, results have been fairly consistent. One interesting trend outside any spectacular leaps in language popularity has been the widening correlation gap between GitHub and Stack Overflow rankings. As the analysts note, whilst this isn’t news per se, should this continental drift in programming language traction continue, it would certainly warrant further investigation.

Other points of interest include the continued rise of Go, which now sits on the cusp of top twenty rankings at number 21 in the index. With the steady increase in projects moving onto Google’s pet language from other alternatives, we could see it make this jump within the next six to twelve months.

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