Java and C++ Hit New Popularity Lows
“Extra, extra, read all about it. Hot off the presses! Java and C++ reach all-time popularity lows.” This is something I might say if I were a street-corner paperboy trying to sell my extra edition of the newspaper being printed that day. But it is 2014 so when there is news to disseminate, I just post a link to the article on social media and let the Internet do its thing. It is interesting how things change. And sometimes they change quickly.
In less than fifteen years, the Java programming language has fallen from a more than 26 percent popularity rating in 2001 to its lowest—just a hair above 14 percent this month—ever in the history of the TIOBE Programming Index.
Java isn’t the only language to see a decline in popularity. C++, which once hovered around a popularity of 15 percent for most of the early 2000s, has also hit an all-time low rating of 4.6 percent. In just the past year, C++ has nearly halved its popularity as a programming language, dropping 4 percent since September 2013.
Despite reporting that “Java and C++ are at an all-time low in the TIOBE index since its start in the year 2001,” TIOBE isn’t marking the languages as dead in the water. “This doesn't necessarily mean that Java and C++ are on their way out. There is still a huge demand for these programming languages.”
Despite their low points in the ratings, Java and C++ still remain the number two and number four most popular programming languages. A quick search on job posting site Indeed.com confirms that Java and C++ are still dominant compared to hot trends like Python and Ruby.
Why are dominant forces like Java and C++ losing ground? InfoWorld aims to explain the decline by pointing to the advent of domain-specific languages which are reducing the need for general purpose languages. InfoWorld also notes that programs like C++ could be declining due to their associated high costs, not only in the price tag of associated tools but also in terms of the knowledge and understanding required relative to other languages.
Will Java and C++ remain at their lowest points? Will they fall even deeper or climb out of their holes? Only time will tell. But with the addition of high-profile languages like Swift, it's sure to be interesting.