TIOBE Index for March 2018

March Headline: Ruby replaces Delphi in the TIOBE index top 10

Ruby is back in the TIOBE index top 10 and now it seems to be for a longer time. If we take a look at the chart of Ruby it follows a very common pattern for programming languages. Ruby was invented a very long time ago and it remained in obscurity till 2006. That was when the Ruby on Rails framework was released. This framework made it easy to create web applications and because Ruby was the underlying language it skyrocketed in the TIOBE index at that time from position 40 to a top 10 position. It also was awarded the TIOBE programming language of the year in 2006. All new language gurus were in ecstasy about Ruby. The language peaked in 2008, but then all hipsters moved to a new language and Ruby dropped to one third of its popularity. It remained there for a long time but is now catching up very slowly. The fact that it is getting more popular so gradually is a good sign. This means that its increase in popularity is structurally instead of being pushed by hypes. Some other interesting moves this month are that both Julia and Kotlin entered the top 40, whereas Rust and Groovy lost their positions in the top 50.

IMPORTANT NOTE. SQL has been added again to the TIOBE index since February 2018. The reason for this is that SQL appears to be Turing complete. As a consequence, there is no recent history for the language and thus it might seem the SQL language is rising very fast. This is not the case.

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. It is important to note that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

The index can be used to check whether your programming skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. The definition of the TIOBE index can be found here.

Mar 2018 Mar 2017 Change Programming Language Ratings Change
66Visual Basic .NET4.085%+0.91%
139changeDelphi/Object Pascal1.792%-0.75%
1515Visual Basic1.741%-0.27%
1613changeAssembly language1.707%-0.53%

Other programming languages

The complete top 50 of programming languages is listed below. This overview is published unofficially, because it could be the case that we missed a language. If you have the impression there is a programming language lacking, please notify us at Please also check the overview of all programming languages that we monitor.

PositionProgramming LanguageRatings
40Ladder Logic0.270%
48RPG (OS/400)0.180%
49OpenEdge ABL0.179%

The Next 50 Programming Languages

The following list of languages denotes #51 to #100. Since the differences are relatively small, the programming languages are only listed (in alphabetical order).

  • 4th Dimension/4D, APL, Applescript, Awk, BBC BASIC, bc, Bourne shell, C shell, CL (OS/400), Common Lisp, Crystal, Curl, Elm, Emacs Lisp, Euphoria, Factor, Forth, Groovy, Hack, Icon, IDL, Io, J, Korn shell, LiveCode, Magic, Maple, Mercury, ML, Modula-2, Monkey, MQL4, NATURAL, NXT-G, OpenCL, Oz, PostScript, PowerShell, Processing, Q, REXX, Rust, Scheme, SPARK, Standard ML, Stata, Tcl, Vala/Genie, VBScript, VHDL

This Month's Changes in the Index

This month the following changes have been made to the definition of the index:

  • Robbepop suggested to add Rustlang to the Rust entry. Since Rustlang refers to Rust in Wikipedia this has been accepted. Unfortunately it didn't help Rust because it dropped from position 46 to 66.
  • There are lots of mails that still need to be processed. As soon as there is more time available your mail will be answered. Please be patient.

Very Long Term History

To see the bigger picture, please find below the positions of the top 10 programming languages of many years back. Please note that these are average positions for a period of 12 months.

Programming Language2018201320082003199819931988
Visual Basic .NET613-----

Programming Language Hall of Fame

The hall of fame listing all "Programming Language of the Year" award winners is shown below. The award is given to the programming language that has the highest rise in ratings in a year.

2017medal C
2016medal Go
2015medal Java
2014medal JavaScript
2013medal Transact-SQL
2012medal Objective-C
2011medal Objective-C
2010medal Python
2009medal Go
2008medal C
2007medal Python
2006medal Ruby
2005medal Java
2004medal PHP
2003medal C++

Bugs & Change Requests

This is the top 5 of most requested changes and bugs. If you have any suggestions how to improve the index don't hesitate to send an e-mail to

  1. Apart from "<language> programming", also other queries such as "programming with <language>", "<language> development" and "<language> coding" should be tried out.
  2. Add queries for other natural languages (apart from English). The idea is to start with the Chinese search engine Baidu. This has been implemented partially and will be completed the next few months.
  3. Add a list of all search term requests that have been rejected. This is to minimize the number of recurring mails about Rails, JQuery, JSP, etc.
  4. Start a TIOBE index for databases, software configuration management systems and application frameworks.
  5. Some search engines allow to query pages that have been added last year. The TIOBE index should only track those recently added pages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Q: Am I allowed to show the TIOBE index in my weblog/presentation/publication?

    A: Yes, the only condition is to refer to its original source "".

  • Q: How may I nominate a new language to be added to the TIOBE index?

    A: If a language meets the criteria of being listed (i.e. it is Turing complete and has an own Wikipedia entry that indicates that it concerns a programming language) and it is sufficiently popular (more than 5,000 hits for +"<language> programming" for Google), then please write an e-mail to

  • Q: I would like to have the complete data set of the TIOBE index. Is this possible?

    A: We spent a lot of effort to obtain all the data and keep the TIOBE index up to date. In order to compensate a bit for this, we ask a fee of 5,000 US$ for the complete data set. The data set runs from June 2001 till today. It started with 25 languages back in 2001, and now measures more than 150 languages once a month. The data are available in comma separated format. Please contact for more information.

  • Q: Why is the maximum taken to calculate the ranking for a grouping, why not the sum?

    A: Well, you can do it either way and both are wrong. If you take the sum, then you get the intersection twice. If you take the max, then you miss the difference. Which one to choose? Suppose somebody comes up with a new search term that is 10% of the original. If you take the max, nothing changes. If you take the sum then the ratings will rise 10%. So taking the sum will be an incentive for some to come up with all kinds of obscure terms for a language. That's why we decided to take the max.

    The proper way to solve this is is of course to take the sum and subtract the intersection. This will give rise to an explosion of extra queries that must be performed. Suppose a language has a grouping of 15 terms, then you have to perform 32,768 queries (all combinations of intersections). So this seems not possible either... If somebody has a solution for this, please let us know.

  • Q: What happened to Java in April 2004? Did you change your methodology?

    A: No, we did not change our methodology at that time. Google changed its methodology. They performed a general sweep action to get rid of all kinds of web sites that had been pushed up. As a consequence, there was a huge drop for languages such as Java and C++. In order to minimize such fluctuations in the future, we added two more search engines (MSN and Yahoo) a few months after this incident.

  • Q: Why is YouTube used as a search engine for the TIOBE index?

    A: First of all, YouTube counts for less than 10% of all ratings, so it has hardly any influence on the index. YouTube has been added as an experiment. It qualified for the TIOBE index because of its high ranking on Alexa. YouTube is a young platform (so an indicator for popularity) and there are quite some lectures, presentations, programming tips and language introductions available on YouTube.