Microsoft's TypeScript programming language rising fast, almost makes top 10

Microsoft TypeScript is popular and it's here to stay as a prominent language, according to analyst RedMonk.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

TypeScript, Microsoft's language for building JavaScript at scale, is now one of the most popular languages with developers and hot on the heels of Apple-backed Swift. 

TypeScript, released by Microsoft in 2012, is now in 12th spot in the first quarter 2019 programming language rankings by developer analyst RedMonk. The firm releases two quarterly rankings per year. 

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, which is currently the top language with developers. TypeScript has climbed four spots since RedMonk's last ranking in August and is up from 17th a year ago. Today, TypeScript is just behind Swift, which RedMonk has tracked as the fastest-growing programming language ever.       

"The language certainly benefits from its JavaScript proximity, as well as safety features such as the optional static type-checking. But features alone are never enough by themselves to propel a language this far this quickly – it must be leveraged by a wide base of growing projects – all of which explains why TypeScript's trajectory is significant and sustainable," explains RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady. 

RedMonk uses code repositories hosted on GitHub and discussions on Stack Overflow to rank programming languages. The rankings aren't necessarily representative of general usage of a language, but the company believes it can predict future trends in a language's adoption by using correlations between two big developer populations. That is, usage of a language on GitHub and discussions about a language on Stack Overflow. 

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Even faster-growing than TypeScript is Kotlin, which was up eight places since the last report and is now ranked in 20th place by RedMonk. According to O'Grady, the speed of Kotlin's growth is second only to Swift. 

GitHub too noted in its 2018 Octoverse report that Kotlin was the fastest-growing language among developers who use GitHub. The fully supported Android language is popular with developers of Android apps and is behind 27 percent of the top 1,000 Android apps on Google Play, according to Google.   

Julia, a language hatched at MIT in 2012, has also climbed two spots and is now the 34th most popular language, according to RedMonk. 

O'Grady last August noted the "esoteric nature of the language may yet relegate it to niche status". Today he said Julia's growth has been "more tortoise than hare" but pointed to TypeScript's growth as a reminder that it's rare but still possible that "languages can transition quickly from periods of slow, barely measurable growth to high, sustained growth quarter after quarter".

The top three languages in RedMonk's current rankings remain unchanged. Leader JavaScript is followed by Java in second place, and the increasingly popular Python in third place. 

Rounding out the top in descending order are PHP, C#, C++, CSS, Ruby, C, and Objective-C. The next 10 that make up the top 20 in descending order are Swift, TypeScript, Scala, Shell, Go, R, PowerShell, Perl, Haskell, and Kotlin. 

  1. JavaScript
  2. Java
  3. Python
  4. PHP
  5. C#
  6. C++
  7. CSS
  8. Ruby
  9. C
  10. Objective-C
  11. Swift
  12. TypeScript
  13. Scala
  14. Shell
  15. Go
  16. R
  17. PowerShell
  18. Perl
  19. Haskell
  20. Kotlin

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