Latest release of C++ is boosting its popularity with developers

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New features are making C++ the fastest growing language in the developer community.

It’s been 35 years since C++ first appeared on the scene. The language quickly became one of the top three programming languages worldwide, with a market share of 17.53% in 2003. Since then, C++ has dropped in popularity, but is now seeing an impressive rise in popularity, according to Paul Jansen, CEO of Tiobe Software.

“After 2005 it didn’t hit the 10% mark anymore and in 2017 it scored an all-time low of 4.55%,” explains Jansen. “But if compared to last year, C++ is now the fastest growing language of the pack (+1.48%). I think that the new C++20 standard might be one of the main causes for this.”

In fact, Jansen says that in Tiobe’s September 2020 index for the world’s most popular programming languages. C++ currently ranks fourth, behind C, Java, and Python. 

The International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) C++ group, Working Group 21 (WG21), this week voted in favor of approving the finalized version of ‘C++20’. The release signals the first major update to the programming language since the release of C++17 three years ago.

Two key features coming to C++20 are ‘modules’ and ‘coroutines’. Jansen notes that the “new modules feature is going to replace the dreadful include mechanism.”

The market for programming languages continues to be dynamic

Java, however, is on the opposite trajectory to C++, seeing a 3.81% percentage point decline compared to its rating a year ago.  Other languages in Tiobe’s current top 10 list behind C++ include C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, PHP, R and SQL. 

The other big winner in this month’s rankings was Rust, which took a blow in August after Firefox-maker Mozilla cut 250 roles and essentially shut the team behind the Servo browser engine, which was an early and important user of Rust.  

Google’s Go language rose three places since 2019 and is now the 11th most popular language, while Apple’s Swift rose from 16th to 12th spot over the period. Google’s Dart programming language, a companion to its Flutter UI framework, also rose from 24th to 20th spot. 

Tiobe currently ranks Microsoft’s TypeScript superset of JavaScript in 42nd place.