R Achieves Its Personal Best In TIOBE Index
Written by Janet Swift   
Thursday, 09 July 2020

Rust, Go, Perl, and Scratch all see improvements in their position in the rankings and C retains the top spot for the third month running. 

The R Community is celebrating the fact that it has made headline news in this month's TIOBE Index with:

All time high for the R programming language


OK, so R, which is the dark green line that hugs the bottom of the above chart of this month's Top 10 languages, customized to cover just the period since R first entered the index in 2007. And despite its recent success it  is still close to the bottom of the chart and its share is just 2.41% of all the mentions of languages that contribute to the buzz that TIOBE monitors. 


Focussing on R alone, it's lowest position since then was in December 2008 when it was ranked #73. That corresponded to a share of ratings of 0.07%. It's highest position, i.e this month's ranking of #8  is a bit below its peak share of ratings 2.55% in January 2018. Since that sharp peak it see-sawed down until January 2020 when it had a 0.81% share but since then it has steadily increased each month.

Commenting on R's place in the rankings, Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software, provides an explanation of why R is currently doing so well:

The statistical programming language R has set a new record by moving from position 9 to position 8 this month. Some time ago it seemed like Python had won the battle of statistical programming, but R's popularity is still increasing in the slipstream of Python. There are 2 trends that might boost the R language: 1) the days of commercial statistical languages and packages such as SAS, Stata and SPSS are over. Universities and research institutes embrace Python and R for their stasticial analyses, 2) lots of statistics and data mining need to be done to find a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. As a consequence, statistical programming languages that are easy to learn and use, gain popularity now.

Making a comparison with last month's rankings Jansen also notes:


Other interesting moves this month are Rust (from #20 to #18), Kotlin (from #30 to #27) and Delphi/Object Pascal (from #22 to #30).


Looking at the Top 20 table which is updated on a monthly basis but indicates positional movements from 12 months ago the changes that strike me are that C has the biggest increase in ratings - up by 2.24%, consolidating its place at the top of the table. Java also sees a small increase (0.04%) but Python, while not moving from 3rd place in the table has lost  0.17% in terms of ratings. While five other languages have double green chevrons, indicating substantial upward movements in terms of position, their percentage changes are much smaller than R's +1.57%. They are Rust (+0.36%), Scratch (+0.35%) and Go (+0.19%) which have positive change and Perl (-0.04%) and PL/SQL (-0.01%) which actually lost share in terms of ratings.

This tends to emphasize that while R's gains may seem modest they are in fact something to be proud of.


More Information

TIOBE Community Index

Related Articles

A Programmer's Guide To R - The Vector

C Is Number One Language Again 

Rust Is A Top Twenty Language 


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Last Updated ( Friday, 10 July 2020 )