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GitHub tallies most popular programming languages in 2018

26 Nov 2018

JavaScript is still a winner when it comes to programming languages but Kotlin, HCL, TypeScript and PowerShell are quickly climbing the ranks.

That’s according to a breakdown of GitHub’s most popular programming languages of 2018. The GitHub team used metrics including how many unique contributors tagged a primary language, as well as the number of repositories created and tagged with a primary language.

It found that there are more repositories created in JavaScript than in any other language. JavaScript is also the language with the most contributors across private and public repositories.

JavaScript’s popularity extends to Australia and New Zealand and remains the top language across the two countries.

While JavaScript, Java, PHP and Python are popular worldwide, the rankings are a little different for Oceania. Java, C# and PHP are all common choices, along with Shell and C++.

GitHub notes that Africa and South America more commonly use TypeScript than developers in North America, possibly because developer communities are newer.

“Perhaps this means they’re more likely to focus on newer developer technologies,” GitHub says.

Some languages such as Ruby have dropped in popularity, even though more contributors are coding with Ruby.

“New projects are less likely to be written in Ruby, especially projects owned by individual users or small organisations, and much more likely to be written in JavaScript, Java, or Python,” GitHub comments.

Kotlin, HCL, TypeScript, PowerShell and Rust are some of the fastest growing programming languages.

The growth in PowerShell may be attributable to the many projects owned by large organisations. Large organisations are also using Go, which has seen a 1.5x increase in popularity.

TypeScript’s increasing popularity is of particular note because it can both integrate and coexist with JavaScript, the most popular programming language.

“We’re also seeing trends toward more statically-typed languages focused on type safety and interoperability: Kotlin, TypeScript, and Rust are growing fast,” GitHub says.

Kotlin and Rust seem to find compatible audiences in C and Java, while Python is versatile and interoperable.

“Interoperability doesn’t only imply that languages have a pre-existing community to use and build on them. It also means that they can transcend and intermingle with different communities. For example, Kotlin was acknowledged as a first-class citizen on the Android platform last year,” GitHub continues.

Because GitHub is a community of developers, they can create resources for newer languages like Kotlin to help that language and many others continue to grow.

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