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After the GitHub Octoverse report last month, GitHub released an analysis of the top programming languages of 2018 on its platforms.

There are various ways to rank the popularity of a programming language. In the report published on the GitHub Blog, the number of unique contributors to both public and private repositories tagged with the primary language was used. In addition, the number of repositories tagged with the appropriate primary programming language was also used.

JavaScript is the top programming language by repositories

The most number of repositories are created in JavaScript. The number of repositories created has a steady rise from 2012. Around this time, GitHub was housing nearly 1 million repositories in total. New JavaScript frameworks like Node.js were launched in 2009. This made it possible for developers to create client and server sides with the same code.

Source: GitHub Blog

JavaScript also has the most number of contributors

JavaScript tops the list for the language having the most number contributors in public and private repositories. This is the case for organizations of every size in all regions of the world. New languages have also been on the rise on GitHub. In 2017, TypeScript entered the top 10 programming languages for all kinds of repositories across all regions. Projects like DefinitelyTyped help in using common JavaScript libraries with TypeScript which encourages its adoption.

Some languages have also seen a decline in popularity. Ruby has sunk in the charts over the last couple of years. Even though the number of contributors in Ruby is on the rise, other languages like JavaScript and Python have grown faster. Newer projects not likely to be written in Ruby. This is especially true for projects owned by individual users or small organizations. Such projects are likely written in popular languages like JavaScript, Java, or Python.

Source: GitHub Blog

Languages by contributors in different regions

Across regions, there haven’t been many variations in languages used. Ruby is at the bottom for all regions. TypeScript ranks higher in South America and Africa compared to North America and Europe. The reason could be the developer communities being relatively new in Africa and South America. The repositories in Africa and South America were younger than the repositories in North America and Europe.

Fastest growing language by contributors

PowerShell is climbing the list. Go also continues to grow across repository type with rank 7. It’s rank is 9 for open source repositories. Statically-typed languages which focus on type safety and interoperability like Kotlin, TypeScript, and Rust are growing quickly.

So what makes a programming language popular on GitHub?

There are three factors for top programming languages to climb ranks—type safety, interoperability, and being open source.

  1. Type safety: There’s a rise in static typing except for Python. This is because of the security and efficiency static typing offers individual developers and teams. The optional static typing in TypeScript adds safety. Kotlin, offers greater interactivity while creating trustworthy, type-safe programs.
  2. Interoperability: One of the reasons TypeScript climbed the rankings was due to its ability to coexist and integrate with JavaScript. Rust and Kotlin which are also on the rise, find built-in audiences in C and Java, respectively. Python developers can directly call Python APIs from Swift which displays its versatility and interoperability.
  3. Open source: These languages are also open source projects with active commits and changes. Strong communities that contribute, evolve, and create resources for languages can positively impact its life.

For more details and charts, visit the GitHub Blog.

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