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Kotlin is back in the Top 20 of the TIOBE Index

The current uprise is more serious because of Kotlin’s much larger fanbase nowadays.

Kotlin, JetBrains’ open source alternative to Java, has returned to the top 20 of the TIOBE index, displacing Julia, which lost 5 positions in just one month and is now in 25th place.

Kotlin first showed up in the TIOBE index almost at the very beginning. In 2017, a year after it was introduced to the world. The reason for the sudden surge of interest in the new language was that Google adopted it as the primary language for Android development. As is usually the case when an immature language takes center stage, its stay in the Top 20 was short-lived. From a 1% share of the rankings in early 2018, it rolled back to around 0.2%. Since then, it has been gaining and losing popularity, as is typical of the TIOBE index, until last month. It was at a relatively low 0.25% in April 2023, 0.37% in May, 0.52% in June, and 0.70% in July. August saw a slight decline to 0.69%, but in the last month it rose to 0.9%, up 0.59% from last year.

In his September blog, TIOBE software CEO and index compiler Paul Jansen comments:

The current uprise is more serious because of Kotlin’s much larger fanbase nowadays. Kotlin’s reason for existence is being a fierce competitor of Java. It beats Java on almost all fronts. The main argument against Kotlin is that Java is a more established language thus having more programmers, books, training courses, libraries, etc.

Kotlin is better than Java and can interoperate with existing Java libraries, as evidenced by its use as the default language in Android. It is better because it learns from Java’s mistakes. By paying attention to where standard boilerplate code occurs in Java, Kotlin developers have introduced simple tools that reduce or even eliminate it. As a result, Kotlin programs are usually much shorter than Java programs and easier to understand. That’s why if you use Java, you should give Kotlin a try, even if your target platform isn’t Android.

One of the key advantages of Kotlin is that it is open source under the Apache 2 license, which means that the language is constantly evolving and improving, and although it originated in the bowels of JetBrains, its openness also means that Kotlin will remain viable in the long run, as it is not tied to any one company.