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Programming languages: These top four rule and developers are happy – for now – ZDNet

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Developers who learn JavaScript, Python, Java, and PHP look to be pretty safe in their choice of programming languages for now, at least according to developer analyst RedMonk’s most recent popularity rankings. 
There’s been no change in the order or make up of the top four languages in RedMonk’s ranking since the first of its biannual rankings from March. There’s also been almost no change in the rankings of the top 20, which are based on the number of projects on GitHub and discussions held on developer forum StackOverflow. 
The rankings are an approximation of popularity that aim to help developers spot emerging trends in languages. But for the past two years, the top 20 list has barely changed and it looks unlikely to in the near future either, according to RedMonk. 
Tiobe Software, which produces a monthly language index, has also seen the top four languages – Python, Java, C, and C++ – consolidate their positions, leaving little room for jostling by newcomers. 
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A few years ago, Apple’s Swift and then Microsoft’s JavaScript superset TypeScript disrupted rankings, both becoming the fastest-growing languages of the past decade. Rust and Go, popular in systems programming, gradually emerged as top 20 languages, as did Java-compatible Kotlin (which Google treats as the first language for Android app development) and Dart, a language developed at Google to address limitations of JavaScript around the same time Microsoft was solving similar challenges with it via TypeScript.    
As RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady notes, these formerly up-and-coming languages are now all around a decade old. 
A “rare exception” to the scarcity of emerging languages is Ballerina, a five-year-old language aimed at experienced programmers familiar with C-family languages, in particular C, C++, Java, JavaScript, C#, and TypeScript. It’s ranked 87th in RedMonk’s index. 
The relative stagnancy in top 20 languages isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it could mean developers are satisfied with existing choices, but it could also reflect a temporary pause on innovation in the space.
“For better and for worse, ours is a mercurial industry committed to perpetual reinvention,” writes O’Grady. “But it does suggest that, at present, industry innovation is focused on areas other than programming languages, and that we may have hit a point of relative – if temporary – contentment with the wide variety of languages available for developers’ usage.”
TypeScript, however, after stalling at eighth for the last three rankings, did climb one spot to seventh and now ties with C++. RedMonk puts TypeScript’s popularity down to its compatibility with JavaScript but with additional security-related features and associations with popular frameworks (such as AngularJS, React, and Vue).
Go also rose one place to 15th – and it’s move up is remarkable, notes O’Grady. Rust retained its spot at 19th where it’s been for four rankings. Rust has become the preferred alternative for writing new code in projects with C and C++ codebases, including Android, the Linux kernel, among others
Kotlin jumped one place to 17th. Kotlin is getting a boost from Meta, which has been moving the codebases for all its Android apps from Java to Kotlin. But Meta engineers have complained of significant disadvantages of moving large (million-plus lines) codebases to Kotlin, particularly because of slower build times than Java, but also because of a lack of tooling compared to older and bigger Java.  
“Big things have been expected of this syntactically friendly language with ready access to one of the largest programming language ecosystems in the world in Java, but sustaining its velocity and upward momentum has proven more difficult than once had been anticipated,” O’Grady notes of Kotlin.     
RedMonk’s top 20 for its second 2022 ranking are:
1 JavaScript
2 Python
3 Java
4 PHP
5 C#
6 CSS
7 C++
7 TypeScript
9 Ruby
10 C
11 Swift
12 R
12 Objective-C
14 Shell
15 Scala
15 Go
17 PowerShell
17 Kotlin
19 Rust
19 Dart

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