Transact-SQL Named Programming Language of 2013

Transact-SQL, the language behind SQL Server, was named language of 2013 by the TIOBE Index.

The TIOBE Index of the most popular programming languages named Transact-SQL as the programming language of 2013.

According to the TIOBE Index, maintained by TIOBE Software, Transact-SQL was the biggest mover of 2013. Last year, Transact-SQL won almost 1 percent of popularity (0.98 percent to be precise), followed by Objective-C at 0.81 percent and F# at 0.53 percent.

"It is a bit strange that Transact-SQL wins the award because its major application field, Microsoft's database engine SQL Server, is losing popularity," TIOBE officials said. The general conclusion is that Transact-SQL won because actually not much happened in 2013. In former years, the award winner gained many percentage points in a year.

Transact-SQL (T-SQL) is Microsoft and Sybase's proprietary extension to the Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL is a standardized computer language that was originally developed by IBM for querying, altering and defining relational databases, using declarative statements. T-SQL expands on the SQL standard to include procedural programming, local variables, various support functions for string processing, date processing, mathematics, etc., and changes to the DELETE and UPDATE statements. These additional features make Transact-SQL Turing complete.

Transact-SQL is central to using Microsoft SQL Server. All applications that communicate with an instance of SQL Server do so by sending Transact-SQL statements to the server, regardless of the user interface of the application.

As the last decade has shown, programming language popularity is largely influenced by external trends, TIOBE said. The most important ones at the moment are mobile phone apps and Web development. Android (mainly Java) and iOS (Objective-C) are the major mobile platforms, while Windows Phone (mainly C#) is catching up.

Meanwhile, in the Web development world, TIOBE officials said there is not much happening yet despite all the HTML5 discussions. JavaScript should be the big winner but has not gained much popularity on the list as it holds stable at around the No. 9 spot. Yet, JavaScript's alternatives are faring even worse, with Dart ranked at 124, CoffeeScript at 170 and TypeScript at 205.

TIOBE changed the TIOBE index algorithm at the end of 2013. The two major changes are: 1) Search engines now contribute much more to the TIOBE index based on their Alexa rankings and suitability to process data automatically, and 2) in the past the sum of the ratings of the top 50 languages was 100 percent, but now the sum of all languages is 100 percent. As a result, most top languages dropped by about 0.5 percent.

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. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.