Objective-C Repeats as TIOBE Index Top Programming Language in 2012

The TIOBE Index, which ranks programming language popularity, has named Objective-C its language of the year for 2012, the second year in a row it has won.

As the company predicted, Objective-C won TIOBE's Programming Language Award for the second consecutive year.

The TIOBE Index measures the popularity of programming languages. The award is given to the programming language that gained most market share in 2012. According to TIOBE, the market share of Objective-C is 3.37 percent higher than it was in January 2012.

The major cause of Objective-C's win is, of course, the booming business of mobile phone application development, TIOBE said.

According to TIOBE, other interesting moves of 2012 are the renaissance of C++, which grew 1.09 percent, boosted by Microsoft, and Python, which grew .96 percent. On the other hand, C# dropped 2.57 percent due to its late entry in the mobile market, and Delphi dropped .65 percent.

As for what is likely to happen in 2013, TIOBE says the mobile phone application market will certainly continue to grow and dominate the index. "It is expected that Java (Android) and C++/C# (Windows Mobile) will regain popularity," TIOBE said in a statement on its Website. "Objective-C seems to be at its top, especially because this language is hardly used for anything else."

However, in a blog post on the future of mobile development, Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond wrote, "Building modern applications is not as simple as learning Objective-C or buying a mobile middleware tool. And since modern applications are composed of systems of systems, you shouldn't separate your mobile strategy from your cloud strategy or your big data strategy."

Hammond points to several changes he sees in the works for future mobile development. He argues that new system patterns will replace the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern for modern apps.

In a broader Forrester report on the "The Future of Mobile Application Development," Hammond said: "If your process of readying for your mobile future only involves retooling your development shop to add some Objective-C or JavaScript developers, you've missed the real watershed that mobile devices and tablets represent. We're moving to a world of multiple endpoints, hybrid-use personal and corporate devices, and lightning-fast client device turnover."

Meanwhile, TIOBE says the dark horses for 2013 are JavaScript and MATLAB. "JavaScript because it is playing an ever more important role in almost any program nowadays and MATLAB because it has become the de facto standard for numerical computing the last couple of years," TIOBE said.

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 worldwide, courses and third-party vendors. The popular search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. The organization points out that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

Developers can use the index to check whether their 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.

However, it is somewhat ironic that the TIOBE Index would show Objective-C as its language of the year and C# as dropping share when C# fared so well in another report. Microsoft's C# programming language earned the rank of the No. 1 programming language of 2012, the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language index revealed.

According to the PYPL index, C# had the biggest growth in 2012, rising more than 2.3 percent, by far the biggest growth of any language in the past year, surpassing Java, PHP and C++.