Kotlin Re-Enters TIOBE Index Top 20
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 18 September 2023

Kotlin, the open-source Java alternative from JetBrains, is back in the Top 20 of the TIOBE Index, displacing Julia which lost the 20th position after only one month and is now down at 25th place.


Kotlin was only a fledgling when it first gained a place in the TIOBE Index. That was in 2017, a year after it was unveiled to the world by JetBrains. The reason for the sudden surge in interest in a new language was that Google adopted it as a first-class language for Java. As is usually the case when an immature language is caught in the limelight, its stay in the Top 20 was short-lived. From having a 1% share of the ratings it fell back to around 0.2% in early 2018. Since then it has gained and lost popularity see-saw fashion as is typical of the TIOBE Index until the last few month. Back in April 2023 it was at a relatively low 0.25%, May saw it at 0.37%, June at 0.52%, July at 0.70. August saw a slight dip to 0.69% but in the last month it increased to 0.9%, a year-on-year jump of 0.59%. 

tiobe kotlin

In his September blog post TIOBE software CEO and maintainer of the Index Paul Jansen comments:

The current uprise is more serious because of Kotlin's much larger fanbase nowadays. Kotlin's reason for existence is being a fierce competitor of Java. It beats Java on almost all fronts. The main argument against Kotlin is that Java is a more established language thus having more programmers, books, training courses, libraries, etc.

Kotlin is a better Java and promises to interwork with existing Java libraries - a claim proved by its use as Java-based Android's default language. It is better because it has learned from Java's mistakes. By looking at where Java involves standard boilerplate code, the designers of Kotlin introduced simple facilities that reduce or even elimintate boilerplate code. As a result Kotlin programs are usually much shorter than Java programs and arguably just as, if not more, easy to understand. This is the reason that, if you use Java, you should try Kotlin, even if your target platform isn't Android.

The fact that Kotlin is open source under an Apache 2 licence is one of its key strengths. It means that the language is constantly evolving and improving and while it has certainly benefitted from its origins at JetBrains it also means that Kotlin is more likely to remain viable in the long term, as it is not tied to any one company. 



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Last Updated ( Monday, 18 September 2023 )