The State of Programming Language Hype

Richard Kenneth Eng
2 min readOct 15, 2023

The hype over new or newish programming languages will be examined through the lens of major programming language popularity indices. Newish programming languages are defined as post-2003, i.e., within the last two decades. Here are the candidates:

  • Scala (2003)
  • F# (2005)
  • Clojure (2007)—Lisp derivative
  • Nim (2008)
  • Pharo (2008)—Smalltalk derivative
  • Go (2009)
  • Dart (2011)
  • Kotlin (2011)
  • Julia (2012)
  • TypeScript (2012)—JavaScript with types
  • Elm (2012)
  • Elixir (2012)—related to Erlang
  • Swift (2014)
  • Rust (2015)
  • Raku (2015)—aka Perl 6
  • Zig (2016)

Over the years, these languages have received some measure of hype.

The major programing language indices used are:

  1. TIOBE
  2. PYPL
  3. RedMonk
  4. IEEE Spectrum
  5. Stack Overflow Developer Survey
  6. GitHut 2.0 (Pull Requests)

TIOBE

Go, Swift, Kotlin, and Rust are in the Top 20. Julia (#28), Dart (#31), F# (#36), Scala (#38), and TypeScript (#49) round out the Top 50.

PYPL

TypeScript, Swift, Rust, Go, Kotlin, Dart, and Scala are in the Top 20. Julia is at #24.

RedMonk

TypeScript, Swift, Go, Scala, Kotlin, Rust, and Dart make it in the Top 20. Clojure is at #27.

IEEE Spectrum

Go, TypeScript, Swift, Dart, Rust, and Kotlin are in the Top 20. All others are well down the list with Julia, Clojure, and Elixir at #30, #31, and #33, respectively.

Stack Overflow Developer Survey

These are the most “admired” languages: TypeScript, Rust, Go, Kotlin, Dart, Swift, and Elixir round out the Top 20.

It’s not clear that admiration signifies a language’s popularity.

GitHut 2.0

Go, TypeScript, Rust, Scala, Kotlin, Swift, Dart are in the Top 20.

Conclusion

Dart, Go, Kotlin, Rust, Swift, and TypeScript are the big winners in the programming languages Hunger Games for best new (or newish) languages. Interestingly, Dart, Scala, and TypeScript are particularly weak on TIOBE, the most widely regarded language index.

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