With some delay, here’s my annual roundup of programming language rankings. One sad change from previous years (2012 edition, 2013 edition) is the absence of Andrew Binstock’s usual column, “Rise and Fall of Languages.” That had been published by Dr. Dobb’s Journal which has shut down last year. (Binstock is now EIC of Oracle’s Java Magazine but I doubt he’ll do language comparisons there, outside of “Why Java is Awesome.”) Never fear, though! Ranking programming languages remains a popular pastime, so we have plenty of other sources for 2014.
PHP and Ruby are definitely declining in popularity whereas the traditional heavyweights Java and C/C++ are generally holding steady. One interesting new development is that Python appears to have established itself as a solid all-rounder, popular with both businesses (CodeEval) and hackers (GitHub) in addition to its near-monopoly among scientists. Python is basically synonymous with “scripting language” at this point – nobody likes shell languages and Ruby is fading fast.
Everyone Loves TypeScript
It helps that Microsoft’s leadership has its head screwed on right these days, too. There are no commercial or other proprietary chains on TypeScript. Various editors already offer support, with Microsoft’s own Visual Studio 2013/15 available as fully functional Community Editions, capable of using extensions and licensed for most uses, unlike the shamefully crippled “Express Editions” of yore.
2015-04-16: Neil Green has just posted an extensive slideshow with a comparison of features and sample code in TypeScript, CoffeeScript, and ECMAScript 6. Also, many pictures of cute little kittens.