C++ Rises to Second Place

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C++ overtook C in the top three of the TIOBE Programming Language Community Index this month, a significant shakeup following gradual growth of C++ and gradual decline of C over the last year. The consistent upgrades C++ has received since 2011, its performance and its scalability have all helped C++ grow. Plus, Rust and Go saw significant movement further down the index.

The TIOBE Programming Community Index shows trends in programming languages based on search engine volume.

Trends year-over-year from the TIOBE Programming Community Index. Image: TIOBE Software

Why C++ reached second place now

C++ has consistently ranked third on the index since December 2022, at which time it took the spot from Java. Its popularity spiked in February 2023, and enjoyed modest but consistent growth since then.

“C++ is heavily used in embedded systems, game development and financial trading software, just to name a few domains,” Jansen wrote.

C++ was first released in 1985 as an extension of C. That origin has both benefitted and may have delayed it from arriving higher up the ranks.

“Its downside is its many ways to get things done, i.e. its rich idiom of features, which is caused by its long history and aim for backward compatibility,” wrote TIOBE Software CEO Paul Jansen in the June index.

SEE: Apple will bring generative AI to its next-generation operating systems.

On the other hand, “C++ started a new life as of 2011 with its consistent 3 yearly updates,” Jansen wrote. While not every engineer and compiler kept up with that update schedule, the liveliness of the programming language did set it on a path to consistent popularity and growth on the index.

C++ standards are established by the International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission. The current version is C++23.

Other changes in the TIOBE Index in June

Elsewhere in the TIOBE Index, the programming language Go rose to position seven, a year-over-year doubling of its spot in the rankings. Rust reached an all-time high of 17th place. Fortran held onto its popularity from last month at number 10. Finally, Kotlin, which received an upgrade to Version 2.0.0 in May, continued its year-over-year rise and is now in 19th place.

TechRepublic has reached out to TIOBE Software for more information.

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