C# is the language of the year 2012!

While PHP lost the most points in the year 2012 (1.6%), C# gained the most points (2.3%) according to the PYPL (PopularitY of Programming Language) index.

All in all C# gained again some points, while the first two places (Java and PHP) could not stop their fall. The PYPL (PopularitY of Programming Language) index is created by analyzing how often language tutorials are searched on Google : the more a specific language tutorial is searched, the more popular the language is assumed to be. It is a leading indicator. The raw data comes from Google Trends, so that anyone can verify it, or make the analysis for his own country.

Another popular index, the so called TIOBE programming community index has a different point of view on the whole topic. However, the TIOBE index is a lagging indicator. Among other things, it counts the number of web pages with the language name. As an example: Searching for Objective-C programming in Google yields over 28 million pages, while searching for C programming returns only 11 million pages. This explains why Objective-C has a high TIOBE ranking. But who is reading those Objective-C web pages? Hardly anyone, according to Google Trends data. Objective-C tutorial are searched 6 times less than JavaScript tutorials. Therefore Javascript has a 7.9% share of search, so Objective-C has a share of 1.3%.

Of course one has to be very careful taking such data as pure truth, since the real truth lies somewhere between those two indices. Some (in my opinion) facts, however, can be derived from them:

  • Managed languages are (still) really popular
  • Scripting languages are popular
  • JavaScript is becoming more and more important
  • Native languages (C/C++) are far away from being dead
  • Java is declining with C# rising
  • C# is gaining audience by former VB developers as well as C developers

Note: This does not say that C# is the best language for any job - it much more says the opposite. There are many different tools and each one will be used by different persons on different tasks. Some languages are more versatile than others, like C#, which can be used for

  • Client development
  • Server development
  • As a scripting language
  • Compilers
  • Interpreters
  • Web development
  • iOS apps
  • Windows store apps
  • Android apps
  • Services
  • Cloud computing

and many many more tasks. That being said it is true that between Windows, iOS and Android, C# code can run on over 2 billion devices. And beyond mobile, C# is highly portable in a wide range of environments across the spectrum of mobile, embedded, desktop, and server computing.

I do not know what 2013 will give us in computing - but I know that C# can be used to program it.

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