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Python, a VS Code Mainstay, Slithers Past Java in Popularity Index

Python, surely the most important programming language to users of Visual Studio Code (except for perhaps C#), has for the first time passed Java to secure the No. 2 spot in the latest TIOBE Index ranking of popularity.

Microsoft long ago went "all in" on Python for VS Code, propelling the Python extension to the No. 1 tool by far in the VS Code Marketplace, where it has been downloaded some 27 million times (while No.2, C/C++, is only at about 15.1 million).

As we reported earlier this month, the TIOBE Index in its last report noted that Python was closing in on Java, a historic milestone in the long-running gauge of programming language popularity that uses metrics based on web searches. Java has been No. 1 or No. 2 in the index since 2005.

TIOBE Index for November 2020
[Click on image for larger view.] TIOBE Index for November 2020 (source: TIOBE Software).

"For the first time since the start of the TIOBE index nearly 20 years ago, Java and C don't make up the top 2 positions any more," said Paul Jansen, CEO, TIOBE Software, in the November 2020 report. "C is still number one, but it is Python that claims the second position now. Some say that Python's recent surge in popularity is due to booming fields such as data mining, AI and numerical computing.

"But I have my own take on this. I believe that Python's popularity has to do with general demand. In the past, most programming activities were performed by software engineers. But programming skills are needed everywhere nowadays and there is a lack of good software developers. As a consequence, we need something simple that can be handled by non-software engineers, something easy to learn with fast edit cycles and smooth deployment. Python meets all these needs."

Python garnered a 2.27 percent increase in the ratings to claim the second spot -- the largest percentage gain among the top 20 -- while Java slipped an astonishing 4.57 percent.

Also of interest to Microsoft-centric coders, C# maintained its No. 5 slot, while another Microsoft language, the old favorite Visual Basic, stayed in sixth place ("Classic Visual Basic" was just out of the top 20).

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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