Programming languages: PowerShell nets more Linux, MacOS, Windows developers

Microsoft's PowerShell open-sourced scripting language is striking a chord with more developers.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft's recent move to open-source its once Windows-exclusive PowerShell appears to paying off, with the language now popping up in the top 50 of the Tiobe index of the world's most popular programming languages. 

Microsoft open-sourced its 12-year-old scripting language three years ago as part of its cloud-driven, agnostic approach to operating systems. 

PowerShell's 2016 Linux and macOS debut followed current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's assertion that "Microsoft loves Linux" and former CEO Steve Ballmer concession that Linux actually wasn't a cancer

Since then, Microsoft brought SQL Server to Linux, open-sourced .NET, brought Bash to Windows. And last year Microsoft made PowerShell an Ubuntu 'snap' or a containerized software package.    

The open-source push appears to be helping PowerShell become more popular among developers, showing up for the first time in 45th place in Tiobe's most popular programming languages. 

PowerShell is now just behind Haskell, Julia, and the Android developer language, Kotlin. 

"Until recently it was only available for Windows, but Microsoft used its .NET Core platform to create PowerShell Core. This version is open source and runs on all major platforms. This might be the reason why PowerShell is getting more popular again," speculates a Tiobe analyst. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF)

Microsoft open-sourced PowerShell alongside the introduction of PowerShell Core, which was built on .NET Core rather than the Windows-only .NET Framework.   

PowerShell's rise is the only notable shift in the Tiobe index this month, with the top 10 remaining unchanged and led by Oracle-owned Java, C, and Python. Others languages in the top 10 include C++, Visual Basic .NET, C#, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and Objective-C. 

Tiobe's rankings are based on searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, and YouTube. 

While Java remains on the top of Tiobe's list, the language has fallen to second spot on the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index behind Python, which is now ranked as the most popular language. The PYPL rankings are based on Google searches for language tutorials.  

Mar 2019Mar 2018ChangeProgramming LanguageRatingsChange
1 1
Java 14.880% -0.06%
2 2
C 13.305% +0.55%
3 4 ↑    
Python 8.262% +2.39%
4 3     
C++ 8.126% +1.67%
5 6 ↑    
Visual Basic .NET 6.429% +2.34%
6 5     
C# 3.267% -1.80%
7 8 ↑    
JavaScript 2.426% -1.49%
8 7     
PHP 2.420% -1.59%
9 10 ↑    
SQL 1.926% -0.76%
10 14 ↑    
Objective-C 1.681% -0.09%
11 18 ↑    
MATLAB 1.469% +0.06%
12 16 ↑    
Assembly language 1.413% -0.29%
13 11     
Perl 1.302% -0.93%
14 20 ↑    
R 1.278% +0.15%
15 9     
Ruby 1.202% -1.54%
16 60 ↑    
Groovy 1.178% +1.04%
17 12     
Swift 1.158% -0.99%
18 17     
Go 1.016% -0.43%
19 13     
Delphi/Object Pascal 1.012% -0.78%
20 15     
Visual Basic 0.954% -0.79%

PowerShell's rise is the only notable shift in the Tiobe index this month, with the top 10 remaining unchanged.

Source: Tiobe 

Previous and related coverage

Microsoft open sources PowerShell; brings it to Linux and Mac OS X

Microsoft is open-sourcing its PowerShell command line shell and bringing it to Linux and Mac OS X, as recently rumored.

Programming languages: Python rides high but Groovy is cool again with developers

Groovy sees a jump in popularity after years on the periphery of Tiobe's top 50 programming-language rankings.

Python programming language's top uses, tools: Developers reveal their choices

Data analysis overtook web development among Python developers last year.

Best-paying programming languages, skills: Here are the top earners

Wages growth for tech workers was flat last year, but pay for some roles and skills has been growing much faster.

Top programming languages to learn in 2019? Developers name their favorites

Software developers reveal which languages are their top priorities for 2019.

The programming languages and skills that pay the best in 2019 TechRepublic

The 10 programming languages associated with the highest-paying jobs all earned developers an average salary above $100,000.

Is Julia fastest-growing new programming language? Stats chart rapid rise in 2018

Company founded by Julia's four creators issues figures to show how the open-source language gained momentum in 2018.

Programming language Julia is gaining on Python

A young programming language for machine learning is on the rise and could be soon gunning for Python.

Programming language of the year? Python is standout in latest rankings

Python consolidates its place as a long-term top-three programming language.

Python now a top-3 programming language as Julia's rise speeds up

The MIT-created Julia programming language continues its ascent in developer popularity.

Which programming languages are most popular (and what does that even mean)?

Popularity may not be a single vector answer, but students and professionals still want to know if they're guiding their careers and companies in the right direction.

Possible Python rival? Programming language Julia is winning over developers

A young programming language for machine learning is on the rise and could be soon gunning for Python.

Python's rise: Could it soon edge out C++ in programming language popularity?

Python climbs up TIOBE's search engine-based index of programming language popularity.

Microsoft readies Python, Java support for its bot-building framework

Microsoft may be ready to rev up (again) its conversation as a service strategy, with new additions to its bot-framework toolset.

Is Julia the next big programming language? MIT thinks so, as version 1.0 lands TechRepublic

Released in 2012, Julia is designed to combine the speed of C with the usability of Python, the dynamism of Ruby, the mathematical prowess of MatLab, and the statistical chops of R.

Mozilla's radical open-source move helped rewrite rules of tech CNET

A gamble 20 years ago unleashed the source code for the browser that became Firefox. The approach is now core to Facebook, Google and everyone else.

Editorial standards