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Each month, TIOBE publishes its top programming languages index, providing regular updates about the granular fluctuations in the ever-shifting landscape. The popularity of these programming languages is impacted by myriad influences including the latest innovations, consumer technologies and more. The latest index for August features a bottleneck at the top as other programming languages surge ahead.

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“Smart phones were the new hit many years ago. As a consequence, the programming languages that were used to write mobile applications became very popular as well,” said Paul Jansen CEO TIOBE Software, in a blog post about the latest rankings. “The best example of this is Objective-C, which peaked at position 3 in the TIOBE index, whereas it was only used to write apps for iPhones.”

Jump ahead a few years and Jansen explained that “we have the same with data mining and AI,” adding that the programming languages used in these areas “are booming.”

“The most striking example is Python that took over the second position from Java. Even old languages see a revival because of this, like the surge of Fortran,” he continued.

Top programming languages: August index

Overall, C reigns supreme in the latest rankings with a 12.57% rating, representing a 4.41% year of year decrease. Not far behind, runner-up Python boasts an 11.86% rating and has seen this score increase 2.17% year over year. Third-ranked Java has seen its rating dip 4% in the last year to settle in with a 10.43% score in the latest index.

Among the top three, Python is the lone programming language with a positive year-over-year rating change. Since last August, Python has usurped Java with the two programming languages switching positions. In order, C++, C#, Visual Basic and JavaScript round out the top seven. Interestingly, index rankings fourth through seventh remain identical to their August 2020 positioning.

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In the eighth spot, PHP (2.19%) has jumped one spot since last August with its rating dropping a mere 0.05% during this time period. Close behind, Assembly language has surged five spots and 0.99% since last August and now touts a 2.03% rating. Holding the same position it held in August 2020, SQL caps off the top 10 with a 1.47% rating.

Top 20 shakeups

The remaining top 20 includes a number of notable updates including marked drops and sizable surges. For example, No. 11 Groovy (1.36%) has jumped seven spots year over year while No. 12 Classic Visual Basic has also risen five spots during this time period. In the last year, No. 13 Fortran has surged 29 spots and now carries a 1.14% rating. This year-over-year rating increase (0.83%) is the largest positive change in the August index after online Python and Assembly Language.

Since last August, No. 14 R has seen a fall from grace of sorts, slipping six spots while No. 15 Ruby mirrors its 2020 ranking with a minimal rating decrease (0.03%) over this time period. In order, Swift, MATLAB and GO round out the top 18, with each dropping multiple positions year over year, although GO registered the biggest dip (7) of the three. No. 19 Prolog (0.80%) has jumped 17 spots since last August and Perl caps off the top 20 with a 0.78% rating.

“Other interesting moves this month are: Rust from position #27 to #24 and Julia from position #35 to #26. Both Rust and Julia are strong candidates for a permanent top 20 position,” Jansen said.