An interesting change was noted in July's TIOBE Index of programming languages. Objective-C has overtaken C++ to assume third place, behind Java and C.
Although the TIOBE Index has its shortcomings, the finding that Objective-C has overtaken C++ is reiterated in the open source Transparent Language Popularity Index which is based on an automatic tool that can be downloaded from SourceForge.
The July results for this alternative index show the same four languages in the top positions, although with Java rather than C in the top slot:
According to the TIOBE blog:
Both Objective-C and C++ started in 1983 as object-oriented successors of the C languages. Right from the beginning, Objective-C and C++ competed to become the de facto object-oriented programming language. It took quite some years before C++ could claim victory. Now Objective-C is back (thanks to the iPhone and iPad), but not as a direct competitor of C++ any more. C++ is used heavily in large high-performance systems whereas Objective-C is mainly used in the mobile apps industry.
As you can see from the charts below, Objective-C popularity has experienced a rise in the past 3 years while C++ has been in general decline, despite Microsoft's push to make it the top language for Windows 8 development - which may account for the bounce-back in the early months of this year.
The fall of C++ (red line) against the modest rise in Objective-C (blue line)
The biggest mystery in the table is the rise of ten places in Visual Basic .NET - why? It is also interesting to spot the decline of Lua - a nice language but possibly riding too high recently because of press coverage and novelty value.
For some information on the two newish Google languages we have to turn to the Transparent Language Popularity Index which reveals Go at 17 and Dart at 56. Perhaps Go is winning or is it that Dart is just not well enough developed yet?