Mr. Lott has been involved in over 70 software development projects in a career that spans 30 years. He has worked in the capacity of internet strategist, software architect, project leader, DBA, programmer. Since 1993 he has been focused on data warehousing and the associated e-business architectures that make the right data available to the right people to support their business decision-making. Steven is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 143 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

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Check out this item on eWeek: Java, C, C++: Top Programming Languages for 2011 - Application Development - News & Reviews -

The presentation starts with Java, C, C++, C# -- not surprising. These are clearly the most popular programming languages. These seem to be the first choice made by many organizations.

In some cases, it's also the last choice. Many places are simply "All C#" or "All Java" without any further thought. This parallels the "All COBOL" mentality that was so pervasive when I started my career. The "All Singing-All Dancing-All One Language" folks find the most shattering disruptions when their business is eclipsed by competitors with language and platform as a technical edge.

The next tier of languages starts with JavaScript, which is expected. Just about every web site in common use has some JavaScript somewhere. Browsers being what they are, there's really no viable alternative.

Weirdly, Perl is 6th. I say weirdly because the TIOBE Programming Community Index puts Perl much further down the popularity list.

PHP is next. Not surprising.

Visual Basic weighs in above Python. Being above Python is less weird than seeing Perl in 6th place. This position is closer to the TIOBE index. It is distressing to think that VB is still so wildly popular. I'm not sure what VB's strong suit is. C# seems to have every possible advantage over VB. Yet, there it is.

Python and Ruby are the next two. Again, this is more-or-less in the order I expected to see them. This is is the second tier of languages: really popular, but not in the same league as Java or one of the innumerable C variants.

After this, they list Objective-C as number 11. This language is tied to Apple's iOS and MacOS platforms, so it's popularity (like C# and VB) is driven in part by platform popularity.

Third Tier

Once we get past the top 10 Java/C/C++/C#/Objective C and PHP/Python/Perl/Ruby/Javascript tier, we get into a third realm of languages that are less popular, but still garnering a large community of users.

ActionScript. A little bit surprising. But -- really -- it fills the same client-side niche as JavaScript, so this makes sense. Further, almost all ActionScript-powered pages will also have a little bit of JavaScript to help launch things smoothly.

Now we're into interesting -- "perhaps I should learn this next" -- languages: Groovy, Go, Scala, Erlang, Clojure and F#. Notable by their absence are Haskell, Lua and Lisp. These seem like languages to learn in order to grab the good ideas that make them both popular and distinctive from Java or Python.


Published at DZone with permission of Steven Lott, author and DZone MVB.

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



Nick Brown replied on Sat, 2011/01/01 - 11:35am

Clojure is a Lisp, so it is not absent.

The reason languages like Visual Basic and Perl are so high is that there is still a lot of code written in them that must be maintained, so there is still plenty of work for them available. From the abstract of the article:

"However, despite their age, the workhorse languages such as C and C++ continue to remain at the top end of the software development landscape in terms of language use and job potential (despite growing more slowly and even decreasing, according to some sources). Moreover, this list is not intended to highlight the hot, hip new languages on the horizon, but to focus on where programmers can go to look for work."

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