Developers are still going nuts for Apple’s new Swift programming language.
Since it was introduced last summer, Swift just jumped from number 68 to number 22 in the language rankings from research and analyst firm RedMonk. The rankings seeks to gauge how interested programmers are in different languages.
It’s important, however, to keep RedMonk’s rankings in perspective. They don’t reflect what languages are most commonly used at companies today, or where the most jobs are. It uses only two dimensions to rank developer interest: the number of lines of code in the popular code hosting and collaboration site GitHub, and the number of questions being asked about a particular language on the question and answers site StackOverflow.
But they might just give us some insight into what languages programmers are actually interested in, and given the intense competition between companies for engineering talent, it could help companies make strategic decisions about what languages to use for new projects. And it gives us some insight into the changes occurring beneath the surface of our favorite apps.
As mentioned, Go still continues to grow quickly—-possibly due, in part, to its popularity in China. And Rust—a language created by Mozilla, the makers of the popular Firefox web browser—saw some upward momentum as well. But nothing is really coming close to topping Java and the other top tier languages.
That fits well with a ranking of database technologies that found that Oracle’s flagship product is still the top dog, despite rapid adoption of newer technologies. Such findings suggest that developers aren’t ditching old technologies, but adding new ones to their skill sets as they seek out the best tools for particular jobs.
Java and Oracle aren’t going anywhere, but the growth of languages like Swift and Go and the rising popularity of alternative databases shows us that the days when one or two development platforms could completely dominate the industry are over.