JavaScript or Python: which language is a leader?


Oct 21, 2022

Today there are many programming languages ​​and no one knows their exact quantity. So, the TIOBE index contains more than 150 languages, the GitHub, software development platform, highlights about 370 languages, and the HOPL online list claims that there are more than 8000 programming languages!

However, among the large number of programming languages, there are those that are used most often. We took 2 programming language rankings from TIOBE and Berkeley for 2022. Looking ahead, we can say that the positions of the languages ​​in the ranking turned out to be different.

The TIOBE index is an indicator of the popularity of languages, it is based on the number of mentions of each programming language in the most famous search engines such as Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Yahoo!, Amazon, Bing. The rating is compiled every month, so you can note the dynamics of changes in the number of requests on a monthly basis. We will consider the annual ranking to see how the order of programming languages ​​has changed over 35 years (Fig. 1)

Fig.1 — TIOBE Programming Language Ranking, 1987–2022 Source

The top of the ranking is the Python language, 5 years ago, it took 5th place. Due to its versatility and simple syntax, the language has moved a few lines forward. Python is used to develop mobile and web applications, in GameDev, used in Data Science, machine learning and analytics. Such well-known applications as YouTube, Google Search were written in Python.

The second place is taken by the C language. It is also universal, but more suitable for those who want to better understand how the hardware works. It is used in mobile and desktop applications, in system software.

Java is in third place. One of the advantages of this language is cross-platform. Applications written in Java can be simultaneously used on Windows, Linux, MacOS. This language is also relatively easy to learn and use, and can handle large amounts of data. Java is commonly used in GameDev, Android mobile app development, cloud, and banking applications.

If we consider the rating for the entire period, we can note that C has been among the leaders for 35 years, and Java for 20 years.

The top 3 of the next ranking, prepared by The University of California, Berkeley, looks a little different. Such languages ​​like JavaScript and HTML are appearing here. This rating is based on surveys of developers on the Stack Overflow platform over the last few years (2019, 2020, 2021).

The first place is taken by JavaScript. This language is used to control the behavior of web pages, helps to create dynamic elements, e.g., animated graphics, interactive maps or buttons. JavaScript is one of the simplest programming languages, it is used for creating web applications, in GameDev, in browser extensions, for creating mobile and desktop applications.

The third place belongs to the HTML language, which is needed to place text, pictures, tables, or videos on the page. Browsers render the site using HTML, but so far, the user actions are processed mainly using JavaScript and its frameworks. By the way, many developers do not find HTML as a language.

Ratings show different results, as they are based on different sources. However, consider the fact that on any relevant metric (GitHub pull requests, StackOverflow questions, developer surveys, or job openings), JavaScript is on the top, but according to TIOBE, JavaScript is ranked 7th. From 2014 until mid-2022, JavaScript was #1 in pull requests (Figure 3), then Python has became a leader.

Fig.3 — Number of pull requests, %, 2014–2022 Source

Many developers call into question the TIOBE index and rely on the other sources mentioned earlier such as StackOverflow, JetBrains, GitHub for more accurate information. In any case, the developer does not choose a language from the rating, but uses the one that best suits the specifics and tasks of the project, taking into his/her technology stack and experience.

Elizaveta Kuzminykh

CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)

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