Microsoft's Visual Basic .Net dead? No, it's fifth most popular programming language

Microsoft's Visual Basic .Net reaches an all-time high on a popularity index.

Visual Basic .Net might not be the coolest programming language to know, but it remains popular and has now reached its highest position on the Tiobe index of top programming languages.

In the December 2018 index, Visual Basic .Net now ranks fifth, the highest it's ever been since the company started tracking the Microsoft language in 2001. A year ago Visual Basic .Net was ranked seventh, and it surprised Tiobe analysts in February when it climbed to sixth.

Visual Basic .Net's continued ascent comes despite Microsoft last year announcing it would end the co-evolution of Visual Basic and C# and focus on "core scenarios and domains" where Visual Basic .Net is popular, while throwing more resources behind C#.

Tiobe analysts said it was "very surprising" that Visual Basic .Net is now the fifth most popular language, only behind C++, Python, C, and Java.

It's even ahead of JavaScript, which currently lies in seventh place, down from sixth a year ago. C# meanwhile fell from fifth spot a year ago to sixth this month.

The language index still reckons Visual Basic .Net will "sooner or later go into decline", but concedes it's popular for dedicated office applications in small and medium enterprises, and is probably still used by many developers because it's easy to learn.

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When Microsoft announced its new strategy for Visual Basic .Net, it noted that "hundreds of thousands" of people used it, compared with the "millions" who use C#.

The company's plan was to lead with C# for cloud, mobile, and bleeding-edge technologies, while Visual Basic .Net would focus on Windows desktop development.

The new strategy caused angst among Visual Basic .Net developers, who feared that Microsoft was going to 'dumb down' the language. There was also disappointment that Microsoft offered Xamarin support in C# but not Visual Basic .Net.

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Tiobe says Microsoft Visual Basic .Net's fifth place in the index is very surprising.

Image: Tiobe

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