Popularity Indexes Disagree About Top Programming Language

Wednesday Jan 9th 2013 by Developer.com Staff
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Is C the most popular—or is Java?

According to the well-established Tiobe Programming Community Index, C is currently the most popular programming language, followed by Java. But the new PyPL Popularity of Programming Language Index says Java is the most popular, followed by PHP, with C coming in fifth.

The discrepancy results from the methodologies used by both indexes. Tiobe counts the number of Web pages related to a particular language, while PyPL considers tutorial searches related to the languages.

"The Tiobe [index] in my view doesn't give [an] adequate view of popularity of a programming language," said Pierre Carbonelle, founder of the PyPL index.

But Tiobe's Paul Jansen disagreed, saying, "It is true that we are a lagging indicator because we measure the number of pages available. If a page has been created 10 years ago and it still can be looked up, it counts for us. PyPL tracks demand for pages, whereas we track availability of pages. On the long term this is about the same because if there is no demand, there will be no availability and vice versa."

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