You may doubt the TIOBE index, but it is still interesting to read the signals and relative movements. This month the shock news is that R has jumped up the table to number 12 and there is more to say about the meteoric rise of Dart.
The TIOBE index is a weak measure of programming language popularity, but when a language sudden makes a move that is outside of its normal variation you have to wonder why.
This month sees the statistical language R making a small, but about three times its normal variation, jump. This moves it up to 12th place alongside languages like Visual Basic and beats Ruby into 14th place.
To put this into perspective other statistical languages don't get anywhere near - S 84, SAS 21, SPSS 104, Juila 126, LabView 63, Mathematica 80 and Matlab 24. It is worth commenting on Julia being included as it is relatively new language. Also, despite Wolfram's recent efforts to talk up Mathematica aka Wolfram Language, it is still down at 80.
What is the reason for the rise of R?
It could be something to do with R being open source and free, in all senses, to use. It is also a very capable language, particularly suited to working with statistical data. It does seem reasonable that R's time has come.
Another language showing interesting movements is Dart. After making a really big up jump in October it fell back a bit in November but is showing a slight increase again which has taken it to 20. Again the jump is small by absolute standards, but still bigger than normal variation. Dart is still a language worth watching.
Another one to watch is F# which is up at number 16 and shows a big rise over the whole of 2014.
Of the other languages, not much is happening - C is number 1 but still close to Java which shows a long term decline along with C++ and Perl.
It is worth noting that this month the index has dropped the Basic category, arguing that all of the different dialects of the language are represented ni their own right. This is sensible but it misses out on showing the total popularity of the generic language. Just adding Visual Basic .NET to Visual Basic would put it at number 5 in the list.