Which programming languages are attracting users at the fastest rate?
These languages have seen the largest growth in the proportion of contributors to code repositories over the past year, GitHub’s annual Octoverse report found.
Also shooting up the chart is Microsoft’s command-line shell and scripting language PowerShell and Mozilla’s Rust, which is designed to offer similar performance to C++, while adding fine control over memory management.
“We’re seeing trends toward more statically typed languages focused on thread safety and interoperability: Kotlin, TypeScript, and Rust are growing fast this year,” says the GitHub report.
Kotlin — 2.6x more contributors
Kotlin is a modern alternative to Java that is easy to learn and use.
The open-source, statically-typed language gained major traction last year when Google threw its weight behind Kotlin and announced it was an officially supported language for building Android apps.
Kotlin has been described by a Netflix senior software engineer as offering “some of the best features of other languages” combined with “interoperability with Java”, due to its ability to run on the Java virtual machine (JVM).
The language, created by JetBrains in 2011, shot up from number 46 to 27 in the RedMonk rankings in the back half of 2017 and was chosen as the second favorite language by developers in a Stack Overflow survey earlier this year.
Apart from Android apps, Kotlin is also used to build backend and server-side applications.
Earlier this month, Google and JetBrains announced they had established the Kotlin Foundation to oversee the development of the language.
TypeScript — 2.2x more contributors
SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research)
TypeScript 3.1 was released earlier this month, introducing mappable tuple and array types and version redirects.
The language’s popularity was also evident in its rise to number seven in the list of most commonly used languages used on GitHub, an improvement over last year when it entered the top 10 for the first time.
HCL — 1.9x more contributors
A new name in the list is HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language), a configuration language used for setting up programming environments, software libraries, and other application dependencies.
Commonly used by DevOps engineers, an advantage of HCL is that it is interoperable with JSON, a widely used language for configuring development environments, due to the HCL API being able to accept JSON as an input.
HCL was created by DevOps company HashiCorp as a more human-readable form of JSON and YAML, which is also less verbose than JSON.
“Our configuration language (HCL) is designed to be written and modified by humans,” HashiCorp writes on its HCL project page.
“Our goal with HCL is not to alienate other configuration languages. It is instead to provide HCL as a specialized language for our tools, and JSON as the interoperability layer.”
Top languages and other favorites
There continues to be a sharp growth in interest in what GitHub calls open-source projects, with the fastest-growing projects headed up by the documentation for Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
Meanwhile, the most popular open-source project by number of contributors is again a Microsoft offering, the IDE Visual Studio Code, followed by Facebook’s React native app framework and Google’s Tensorflow machine-learning framework.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- GitHub found that Kotlin, HCL and TypeScript are the fastest-growing languages on the online code repository.
- The site says there is a trend toward more statically typed languages focused on thread safety and interoperability.