A quarterly ranking of the most popular programming languages indicates Apple’s Swift language is the fastest-growing language around, and has broken into the top 10 for the first time, tying the language it was designed to replace, Objective-C, for 10th place.
The creator of the rankings, RedMonk, has been compiling these rankings quarterly since 2011. The company says Swift is the fastest-growing development language it has seen since it began compiling the rankings.
The apprentice is now the master. Technically, this isn’t entirely accurate, as Swift merely tied the language it effectively replaced – Objective C – rather than passing it. Still, it’s difficult to view this run as anything but a changing of the guard.
Apple’s support for Objective C and the consequent opportunities it created via the iOS platform have kept the language in a high profile role almost as long as we’ve been doing these rankings. Even as Swift grew at an incredible rate, Objective C’s history kept it out in front of its replacement. Eventually, however, the trajectories had to intersect, and this quarter’s run is the first occasion in which this has happened.
In a world in which it’s incredibly difficult to break into the Top 25 of language rankings, let alone the Top 10, Swift managed the chore in less than four years. It remains a growth phenomenon, even if its ability to penetrate the server side has not met expectations.
RedMonk compiles the rankings by extracting “language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction.” Meaning that other languages might still be in greater use among developers, but the rankings indicate where the programmer ranks are headed.
The full RedMonk Top 20 Languages include: