Microsoft's GitHub: 'Kotlin for Android now fastest-growing programming language'

The number of developers hosting projects built with Google-backed Kotlin is surging.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Kotlin, the Google-endorsed programming language for building Android apps, now has the fastest-growing population of contributors on Microsoft-owned code-hosting repository GitHub.

Google made Kotlin a 'first-class' language last year, alongside already officially supported Java and C++.

The move offered Google an avenue to sidestep Java issues on Android and has helped propel Kotlin's use by Android developers, which is reflected in GitHub's 2018 Octoverse report.

According to GitHub, the number of contributors using Kotlin to build projects has more than doubled in the past year, making it the fastest-growing language of all.

Google recently ramped up its support for Kotlin, teaming up with its main sponsor, IDE developer JetBrains, to launch the the Kotlin Foundation and the Google Cloud hosted Kotlin portal.

As Google noted at the time, 27 percent of the top 1,000 Android apps on Google Play use the language, among them Twitter, Slack, and Netflix.

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The purpose of the foundation is to ensure "Kotlin's development and distribution as free software, meaning that it is able to be freely copied, modified, and redistributed, including modifications to the official versions."

The next fastest growing language by the number of contributors is the Microsoft-maintained TypeScript, which grew 1.9 times over the past year.

This was followed by Microsoft's PowerShell and Rust, which has its roots in Firefox maker Mozilla.

Also rapidly growing is the cross-platform tool, CMake, the Google-created language Go, and Python, which is also one of the most popular languages among developers.

Filling out the top 10 fastest-growing languages on GitHub were Groovy, and IBM's SQLPL.

Microsoft remains the most active open-source contributor on GitHub with 7,700 employees contributing to its projects. Google had 5,500 contributors to open source, RedHat had 3,300, and UC Berkeley had 2,700.

The top-10 programming languages on GitHub have been fairly stable over the past three years, with the exception of TypeScript and Ruby.

TypeScript rose from 10th place last year to seventh spot in 2018. Ruby meanwhile has dropped from 5th in 2015 to 10th today.

The top 10 languages in descending order were JavaScript, Java, Python, PHP, C++, C#, TypeScript, Shell, and C, with Objective C and Ruby tying at 10th place.

The top 10 roughly lines up with other popularity indexes, such as TIOBE and PYPL.


GitHub says the trend towards more statically typed languages focused on thread safety and interoperability means Kotlin, TypeScript, and Rust are growing fast this year.

Image: GitHub

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