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

Microsoft's PowerShell open-sourced scripting language is striking a chord with more developers.

Microsoft's open-source move puts Powershell on favorite programming languages list Microsoft's PowerShell open-sourced scripting language is striking a chord with more developers.

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 

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