TIOBE Software has released its programming community index for December 2011, and the numbers show that C# is gaining in popularity.

According to TIOBE, the most popular languages right now are Java, C, C++, C# and Objective-C. (In that order.) There's no movement at all in the top 3, though TIOBE says that C++ has lost a bit of popularity since December 2010. C# moved up from 5th place to 4th, and is just a hair behind C++.

JavaScript moved into the top 10, up two slots from December 2010. Considering how much more prevalent Web applications are becoming, it's surprising that JavaScript hasn't moved up farther. Objective-C, jumped three spots to 5th place. Given the use of Objective-C for iOS apps, it's not surprising that it's gaining popularity quickly. The "losers" this time around are PHP and Python. PHP dropped two slots from the 4th position last December to 6th this year, and Python dropped from 6th to 8th.


The TIOBE Index from the TIOBE Software Site

The TIOBE ratings are based on the number of page hits for languages by searching for "languagename programming" in Google, Wikipedia, Blogger, Bing, Baidu, YouTube and Yahoo. The full description of the ranking algorithm are on the TIOBE Programming Community Index Definition page.

Their long term trends are interesting to look at as well. Java continues to dominate, but it has slid a bit since the index started in 2001. JavaScript was barely a blip on the chart until mid-2009. C++ has been on a steep decline since late 2003.

Alternatives to TIOBE

Though TIOBE is frequently cited, it's been criticized and there are a number of alternatives that are worth looking at as well.

For example, the Transparent Language Popularity Index, which is an open source project that anyone can examine and run on their own. According to the most recent query from December 1st, the top five are:

  • Java
  • C
  • Objective-C
  • C++
  • PHP

If you look at the top five scripting languages, it's PHP, Python, Perl, JavaScript and Ruby.

Transparent Language Popularity Index

GitHub provides a Top Languages page, which shows the most popular languages in use on GitHub. This is only a good measure of open source projects that are, for the most part, relatively new. JavaScript is top dog on GitHub, with 20%. Ruby is a close second with 16%, followed by Python at 9%. (Note that totals on GitHub's site will likely change.)

GitHub Top Languages

My guess is that Java and JavaScript will do very, very well in 2012. What do you think?