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According to TIOBE programming language popularity index for March 2012, Objective-C is now almost as popular as C++. I'm a bit astonished by this fact. I would have expected C++ to be still head and shoulders above Objective-C in popularity, or am I mistaken and the TIOBE popularity index seems correct? Or do the companies like Apple pay them to create hype around their products?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 14 '12 at 14:43

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closed as not constructive by Yannis Rizos Mar 14 '12 at 14:48

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I would expect this to be a lot to do with the popularity of iOS development. –  obmarg Mar 14 '12 at 14:38
TIOBE is the most useless index you could possibly imagine. –  DeadMG Mar 14 '12 at 14:55
It is popular because iOS and Mac OS are popular, but it is not challenging anything. And until its best features (like ARC) will become available out of Apple platform, it's not going to. –  hamstergene Mar 14 '12 at 14:57
MetallicPriest I'm sorry this question was migrated here incorrectly, it should have been closed on Stack Overflow. –  Yannis Rizos Mar 14 '12 at 15:18
Nobody not on an Apple platform would choose Objective-C. There are sound business reasons for learning Objective-C, they are due to the success of Apple's products, not any particular advantage of Objective-C over C++ or any other language. –  Jim In Texas Mar 14 '12 at 15:28

2 Answers 2

Nobody's really looking at Objective-C and saying 'that's an awesome language, let's use that'. They're looking at iOS and realising that Objective-C is its native development language, so they have little choice but to use it. Sure there are products like MonoTouch, but they're a minimal kind of niche.

That's not to say Objective-C doesn't have its good parts, but C++11 is an extremely powerful language and I doubt it's going anywhere any time soon. Especially since Microsoft have a renewed emphasis on C++ development for Windows 8 Metro-style apps.

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To be fair, Microsoft conveniently forgets to emphasize that metro/winrt development happens in C++CX, which is not really C++. On the surface, C++CX looks like C++/CLI, so you can imagine. –  Tamás Szelei Mar 14 '12 at 19:10
This is true, although fortunately it seems like a relatively minimal set of extensions. Some people might even like having a garbage collector around. –  Matthew Walton Mar 15 '12 at 8:14

Their definition of popularity is some combination of the number of engineers who claim to know it and the number of people teaching/advertising about it (skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors). Given that, it's not surprising Objective-C is artificially high.

They specifically say "the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written." The latter (and the evolution thereof) is one of the most useful but hardest to accurately determine statistics.

Also note that C++ has drifted quite far from C:

auto adding_func(const Lhs &lhs, const Rhs &rhs) -> decltype(lhs+rhs) {return lhs + rhs;}
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Why is "lines of code written" one of the most useful stats? By that metric, the ultimate programming language is COBOL! –  Mason Wheeler Mar 14 '12 at 18:05
I am interested in knowing the language with the most code written. I'm not sure how you pulled the idea of an "ultimate programming language" out of my answer. Also, the change in lines of code written is interesting in a different way. –  Matthew Flaschen Mar 14 '12 at 18:07

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