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Language Popularity on GitHub

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RedMonk just published their latest survey of Github’s most popular languages, and given Github’s continuous growth in popularity, they are worth a look.

Here are the results at a glance:

  • Javascript is seeing a consistent and serious growth.
  • Ruby is in sharp decline.
  • Python is showing a decline as well, although not as severe as Ruby.
  • Java is showing some growth, and it’s also the only JVM language in the top 12 listed by Red Monk.

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Python is being replaced by Go. I don’t have a lot of information to back up this prediction except that most of the positive articles I read about Go are written by Python developers, and a lot of them say that they are now actively migrating their code base from Python to Go. I don’t see as much enthusiasm for Go from developers using statically typed languages, probably because of Go’s antiquated type system (which is still a big step up from Python, obviously).

It’s interesting to see Java continue to grow twenty years after its introduction. I think this constant growth is fueled by the language’s remarkable versatility and its ability to adapt to new technologies but also driven by a series of constant popularity boosts such as Android five years ago and Java 8 this year.

I’m surprised not to see Groovy in this top 12 of languages, since it’s usually acknowledged as the second most popular language on the JVM and I expected its popularity grow thanks to Gradle, but this doesn’t seem to be enough to crack the top 12 on Red Monk.

Update: Discussion on reddit

Published at DZone with permission of Cedric Beust, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Lorien Liang replied on Tue, 2014/05/06 - 9:35pm

Aaron Evans replied on Wed, 2014/05/14 - 1:31pm

These are*new* repositories.  In other words, it measures fads.  There wasn't a big uptake in Perl usage in 2009, to sink again in 2010.  That just means the already existing Perl community started adopting GitHub in large numbers in 2009 (ahead of most languages).  Ruby started even sooner (GitHub itself is written in Ruby) and most projects that use Ruby (that want to) have moved to GitHub.  Javascript's increaing popularity is the big exception.  In 2008 there were only a few client side libraries for Javascript (such as Prototype).  Other languages don't use GitHub as much.  But you can see some relative popularity (at least among open source projects-- paid accounts are drowned in the noise of free accounts on GitHub) of those languages here.

PHP is resurgent over Python, probably because PHP is starting to grow up.  Package Management and tools like Composer make collaboration easier.  PHP may also be having some late migration to GitHub of existing projects as well.

C# has had some genuine uptake on the server side and Obj-C is in decline because the fad of iPhone apps is diminishing.  Actually, many people prefer to build iPhone apps in C# or Javascript and cross compile them using tools like Xamarin or Titanium.

It would be cool to see an overall number of projects comparison.

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