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TIOBE Index for April 2021

April Headline: Game over for Objective-C

It took much longer than expected. Programming language Objective-C has slipped out of the TIOBE index top 20 this month and it is not very likely that it will return in the short term. About 10 years ago, Objective-C was the rising star in the TIOBE index, being winner of the language of the year award in 2011 and 2012. Apple's iPhones were starting to boom in these days and all its applications were written in Objective-C.

Objective-C's fame came to a sudden stop when, in 2014, Apple announced that there was a new language called Swift that should replace Objective-C. Remarkably, it took a long time before Swift was more popular than Objective-C. Only 7 years after its death sentence, Objective-C is now leaving the top 20. But there is still hope for Objective-C because old languages sometimes strike back. Take a look at Fortran! This dinosaur is back in the top 20 after more than 10 years. Fortran was the first commercial programming language ever, and is gaining popularity thanks to the massive need for (scientific) number crunching. Welcome back Fortran.

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. It is important to note that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

The index can be used to check whether your programming skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. The definition of the TIOBE index can be found here.

Apr 2021 Apr 2020 Change Programming Language Ratings Change
12changeC14.32%-2.40%
21changeJava11.23%-5.49%
33Python11.03%+1.72%
44C++7.14%+0.36%
55C#4.91%+0.16%
66Visual Basic4.55%-0.18%
77JavaScript2.44%+0.06%
814changeAssembly language2.32%+1.16%
98changePHP1.84%-0.54%
109changeSQL1.83%-0.34%
1119changeClassic Visual Basic1.54%+0.71%
1222changeDelphi/Object Pascal1.47%+0.77%
1313Ruby1.23%-0.02%
1412changeGo1.22%-0.13%
1511changeSwift1.19%-0.32%
1610changeR1.12%-0.42%
1748changeGroovy1.04%+0.86%
1816changePerl0.99%+0.03%
1918changeMATLAB0.99%+0.06%
2034changeFortran0.91%+0.58%


Other programming languages

The complete top 50 of programming languages is listed below. This overview is published unofficially, because it could be the case that we missed a language. If you have the impression there is a programming language lacking, please notify us at tpci@tiobe.com. Please also check the overview of all programming languages that we monitor.

PositionProgramming LanguageRatings
21SAS0.89%
22Scratch0.68%
23Objective-C0.67%
24COBOL0.65%
25Prolog0.61%
26Scala0.61%
27PL/SQL0.55%
28Transact-SQL0.50%
29Rust0.49%
30Ada0.49%
31D0.48%
32Julia0.42%
33(Visual) FoxPro0.38%
34Dart0.38%
35ABAP0.35%
36Lisp0.35%
37Lua0.34%
38Logo0.33%
39Kotlin0.32%
40LabVIEW0.32%
41VBScript0.28%
42Bash0.24%
43VHDL0.24%
44Ladder Logic0.24%
45Awk0.22%
46Apex0.21%
47RPG0.21%
48Elixir0.21%
49PowerShell0.19%
50TypeScript0.19%

The Next 50 Programming Languages

The following list of languages denotes #51 to #100. Since the differences are relatively small, the programming languages are only listed (in alphabetical order).

  • 4th Dimension/4D, ActionScript, Alice, B4X, bc, Bourne shell, C shell, CFML, Clipper, Clojure, Common Lisp, Crystal, DiBOL, Eiffel, Elm, Erlang, F#, Fantom, Gosu, Hack, Haskell, Icon, Inform, J, Korn shell, Maple, MEL, ML, MQL4, NATURAL, NXT-G, OCaml, Occam, OpenCL, OpenEdge ABL, PL/I, PostScript, PureBasic, Q, REXX, Ring, Scheme, Simulink, Small Basic, Solidity, SPARK, SPSS, Tcl, Verilog, Zig


This Month's Changes in the Index

This month the following changes have been made to the definition of the index:

  • Mike Keizer suggested to add the CLIPS programming language. CLIPS qualifies for the index, so it is has been added to the list of 274 programming languages that we track. CLIPS starts at position 110 in this month's TIOBE index. Thanks Mike!
  • There are lots of mails that still need to be processed. As soon as there is more time available your mail will be answered. Please be patient.

Very Long Term History

To see the bigger picture, please find below the positions of the top 10 programming languages of many years back. Please note that these are average positions for a period of 12 months.

Programming Language20212016201120062001199619911986
C12221111
Java2111330--
Python35782718--
C++43332228
C#545711---
Visual Basic613------
JavaScript781010933--
PHP864419---
R91733-----
SQL10-------
Lisp3427131416742
Ada3626191622883
(Visual) Basic--664334

There are 2 important remarks here:

  1. There is a difference between "Visual Basic" and "(Visual) Basic" in the table above. Until 2010, "(Visual) Basic" referred to all possible dialects of Basic, including Visual Basic. After some discussion, it has been decided to split "(Visual) Basic" into all its dialects such as Visual Basic .NET, Classic Visual Basic, PureBasic, and Small Basic, just to name a few. Since Visual Basic .NET has become the major implementation of Visual Basic, it is now called "Visual Basic".
  2. The programming language SQL has not been in the TIOBE index for a long time. In 2018, somebody pointed out that SQL is Turing Complete. From that moment on, SQL is part of the TIOBE index. So although this language is very old, it has only a short history in the TIOBE index.

Programming Language Hall of Fame

The hall of fame listing all "Programming Language of the Year" award winners is shown below. The award is given to the programming language that has the highest rise in ratings in a year.

YearWinner
2020medal Python
2019medal C
2018medal Python
2017medal C
2016medal Go
2015medal Java
2014medal JavaScript
2013medal Transact-SQL
2012medal Objective-C
2011medal Objective-C
2010medal Python
2009medal Go
2008medal C
2007medal Python
2006medal Ruby
2005medal Java
2004medal PHP
2003medal C++


Bugs & Change Requests

This is the top 5 of most requested changes and bugs. If you have any suggestions how to improve the index don't hesitate to send an e-mail to tpci@tiobe.com.

  1. Apart from "<language> programming", also other queries such as "programming with <language>", "<language> development" and "<language> coding" should be tried out.
  2. Add queries for other natural languages (apart from English). The idea is to start with the Chinese search engine Baidu. This has been implemented partially and will be completed the next few months.
  3. Add a list of all search term requests that have been rejected. This is to minimize the number of recurring mails about Rails, JQuery, JSP, etc.
  4. Start a TIOBE index for databases, software configuration management systems and application frameworks.
  5. Some search engines allow to query pages that have been added last year. The TIOBE index should only track those recently added pages.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Q: Am I allowed to show the TIOBE index in my weblog/presentation/publication?

    A: Yes, the only condition is to refer to its original source "www.tiobe.com".

  • Q: How may I nominate a new language to be added to the TIOBE index?

    A: If a language meets the criteria of being listed (i.e. it is Turing complete and has an own Wikipedia entry that indicates that it concerns a programming language) and it is sufficiently popular (more than 5,000 hits for +"<language> programming" for Google), then please write an e-mail to tpci@tiobe.com.

  • Q: I would like to have the complete data set of the TIOBE index. Is this possible?

    A: We spent a lot of effort to obtain all the data and keep the TIOBE index up to date. In order to compensate a bit for this, we ask a fee of 5,000 US$ for the complete data set. The data set runs from June 2001 till today. It started with 25 languages back in 2001, and now measures more than 150 languages once a month. The data are available in comma separated format. Please contact sales@tiobe.com for more information.

  • Q: Why is the maximum taken to calculate the ranking for a grouping, why not the sum?

    A: Well, you can do it either way and both are wrong. If you take the sum, then you get the intersection twice. If you take the max, then you miss the difference. Which one to choose? Suppose somebody comes up with a new search term that is 10% of the original. If you take the max, nothing changes. If you take the sum then the ratings will rise 10%. So taking the sum will be an incentive for some to come up with all kinds of obscure terms for a language. That's why we decided to take the max.

    The proper way to solve this is is of course to take the sum and subtract the intersection. This will give rise to an explosion of extra queries that must be performed. Suppose a language has a grouping of 15 terms, then you have to perform 32,768 queries (all combinations of intersections). So this seems not possible either... If somebody has a solution for this, please let us know.

  • Q: What happened to Java in April 2004? Did you change your methodology?

    A: No, we did not change our methodology at that time. Google changed its methodology. They performed a general sweep action to get rid of all kinds of web sites that had been pushed up. As a consequence, there was a huge drop for languages such as Java and C++. In order to minimize such fluctuations in the future, we added two more search engines (MSN and Yahoo) a few months after this incident.