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Programming languages: C++ overtakes PHP, but JavaScript, Python and Java still rule

While the most used programming languages remain stable, there's quite a lot of change elsewhere.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on
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Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

JavaScript, Python, Java, TypeScript and C# are the most widely used programming languages in GitHub projects, according to GitHub's 2022 Octoverse report. 

The list of top programming languages on Microsoft-owned GitHub was stable this year, with no difference in the line up except for PHP, which dropped from sixth to seventh place and was pipped by low-level language C++. Shell, C and Ruby rounded out the top 10 languages. 

But the fastest growing languages were Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL), which grew 56% compared to last year, and Rust, whose community grew more than 50%. TypeScript grew 37.8%. Other languages that grew significantly included Lua, Go, Shell, Makefile, C, Kotlin, and Python. 

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GitHub attributes Google-maintained Go's growth to projects like Docker and Kubernetes, as well as cloud development. Android's impact on mobile app development can be seen in the growth of Kotlin, the language Google endorses for Android development over Java.  

GitHub's list is slightly different to RedMonk's latest index, which is based on GitHub projects and StackOverflow discussions. Its top 10 were JavaScript, Python, Java, PHP, C#, CSS, C++, TypeScript, Ruby, C, and Swift. Rust was in 19th spot. 

Notably, though, Java was not one of the languages to see much growth on GitHub. Nonetheless, it's still a top-three language on GitHub and remains in Tiobe's top three

The top open-source project by the number of contributors was Microsoft's cross-platform code editor VS Code, which had 19,800 contributors, followed by Home Assistant, an open-source home-automation kit maintained by Paulus Schoutsen, with 13,500 contributors. 

Google's Fluter UI framework was third, with 12,400 contributors. Other big projects included Microsoft's Azure Docs, Verbal's Next.js, NixOS's collection of packages for the Nix package manager, TypeScript, Google's Material UI, and the TensorFlow machine-learning platform.

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Overall, GitHub now has 94 million developers using the platform to host code, file pull requests, and commits. Its community grew 27% year on year, adding 20.5 million users in the past year. The company claims 90% of companies now use open source, and that 90% of the Fortune 100 use GitHub. Additionally, 30% of Fortune 100 companies have created an open-source program office (OSPO) to coordinate open-source software (OSS) strategies. 

GitHub sees commercially backed OSS as a good thing for drawing in new developers to OSS. Half of all first-time OSS contributors worked on commercially backed projects, which includes Flutter to Next.JS and React to VS Code

GitHub hosted 85.7 million new repositories, up 20% year on year. There were also a whopping 3.5 contributions to open-source projects on GitHub. These contributions include commits, issues, pull requests, discussions, gists, pushes, and pull requests.   

GitHub also revealed a rise in private repositories. Only 20% of all contributions on GitHub in 2022 were to public repositories. GitHub offered private repositories to GitHub Free accounts in 2019. 

GitHub's Dependabot and Advisory Database also appears to be having a positive impact on security, particularly around fixing vulnerable dependencies. In 2022, 24 million dependencies were updated, up from 16 million in 2021. The number of secured projects rose from 13 million in 2021 to 18 million in 2022.

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