Rust moves up in the world, enters TIOBE index’s top 20


Five years after having been awarded “the most loved programming language” badge on Stack Overflow for the first time, Rust finally has a second popularity indicator going for itself – the TIOBE Programming Community Index.

In the just released June 2020 edition of the ranking, Rust crosses the top 20 mark for the first time, vaulting the system programming language up by 18 positions from 38 to 20 when compared to June 2019. Main competitor Go meanwhile climbed from 15 to 12, which reflects the language’s growing importance in the cloud infrastructure space.

Other programming languages that made up ground include data science lingo R, which is now at 9, up from 22 last year; Matlab, which went from 18 to 15; and visual programming language Scratch (was 26, now 18). On the top of the list, the old Java vs C rivalry unfolds, this time seeing C on top, since it could win more hits than its 25-year-old adversary when compared to 2019. 

However, as interesting as these lists can be, their significance is widely disputed: TIOBE, for instance, calculates its index by counting the hits achieved by querying +”<language> programming” in the 25 highest ranked search engines on Alexa. The list is currently made up of a variety of localised Google landing pages, Baidu, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Bing, Ebay, MSN, Hao 123, Freepik, and Slideshare. 

Search hits of course reflect a basic level of interest a language is receiving; however, the metric doesn’t say much about its reputation. A spike in search results for example could either be an identifier of users being vocal about shortcomings after an update which sees them switching to another language soon after (and others explaining new additions) or a real surge in excited programmers wanting to share new projects or recent learnings. 

We’ll have to wait and see which it was for Rust. Maybe the improvements planned for this year can push it further to the top.