There are many programming languages – some that have been around for decades, modern languages that are gathering a following, and other languages that are trendy but then disappear. What makes a programming language popular among developers? One that is widely used, yes, but also one that is easy to use, high performance, well-supported, is up to the rigors of advanced technology and provides a high level of quality.
This guide demonstrates the most popular programming languages, helping guide development and programming choices in the year to come.
Top 11 Programming Languages
The most popular programming languages that will aid software development in 2022 include:
Python was created in the 1980s and has managed to both retain and grow in the past few years, recently overtaking Java as the top programming language in the TIOBE Programming Community Index October 2021, which reflects number of skilled engineers, courses, and third party vendors.
a. Benefits of Python
Python is English-syntax based, making it easy to use and write and applicable to a wide range of programming needs. As a well-established language, Python boasts wide community support, robust libraries, and many frameworks. Python can be run on nearly any computer or operating
b. Drawbacks of Python
Python is an interpreted language that lacks multi-threading, sometimes leading to speed limitations. Can place a heavy drain on memory due to the extensive use of libraries and for tasks that use a large number of active objects.
c. What is Python used for?
Python is a multi-purpose programming language, often being called a “universal language,” making it ideal for websites and software, web apps, desktop apps, and are rapidly being used for AI, data analysis, and machine learning.
d. Top Python Web Frameworks
- Django – a top Python framework, Django is a web framework that is free, open-source and full-stack to develop complex code and apps.
- Flask – a web framework that is available under BSD license. A “micro-framework,” Flask provides developers more flexibility over the tools, databases, and extensions they want to use.
- CherryPy – a minimalist web framework designed for rapid web app development.
e. Top Python Libraries
- TensorFlow – an open-source library for computations and graphs to make neural networks and deep learning. Developed by Google.
- Pandas – a fast, lightweight library for data analysis and modeling.
- NumPy – a popular mathematics library.
- PyTorch – based on Torch, a Facebook machine learning library that supports computations, modeling, graphing and machine learning concepts such as deep learning, NLP, and computer vision.
Java is one of Google’s preferred programming languages for Android, after Kotlin, and continues to be one of the most-used programming languages.
a. Benefits of Java
Java is fast and reliable, in part due to its high level of use over many years that has helped to refine the language and extend it through the wide network of community support, frameworks, and libraries.
b. Drawbacks of Java
Java has strict syntax requirements and complex code leading to higher development time. While Java is faster than Python, it does take up a lot of memory.
c. What is Java used for
Java is used to develop high-performance software on a wide range of platforms including mobile apps, AI, big data, or for various desktop applications or other systems (tvs, gaming consoles, etc). However, Java is probably most well-known for games, on mobile or in game consoles.
d. Top Java Framework
- Spring – open-source framework for creating secure enterprise web applications for any kind of deployment platform, focusing more on the “plumbing” of the app than the business logic.
- Struts – Apache Struts is an open-source web app framework following the MVC architecture
- Hibernate – Hibernate ORM is an object-relational mapping tool used to map a domain model to a relational database.
- Spark – a web framework for Java & Kotlin, Apache Spark is free and open-source to support data engineering, data science, and machine learning
3. C and C++
C and C++ are among the oldest languages, with each ranking individually on the TIOBE index at position 2 and 4 respectively, with C recently overtaking Java for second position.
a. Benefits of C and C++
C/C++ are mid-level languages that are highly portable across operating systems. C++ was built to be generic, imperative, and object-oriented, with dynamic memory allocation to make it execute faster.
b. Drawbacks of C and C++
Both languages are complex and hands-on. Debugging is often more difficult due to complex syntax and pointers, with no support for garbage collection. C is not as secure as C++, but security is a concern with both due to “memory unsafety.”
c. What C and C++ are used for
C is commonly used for system programming and embedded devices and OS kernels, but both can be used for application development. C++ can be used for graphic-heavy software such as games.
- Angular – framework for web, mobile web, native mobile, and native desktop applications that leverages Microsoft’s Typescript language and code-splitting to speed loading.
- Vue.js – top framework for creating single page web apps (SPAs) by combining the best of React and Angular
- Node.js – an open-source, cross-platform back-end environment.
- Ionic – an open-source hybrid app development framework.
- React Native – an open-source cross-platform UI framework.
- React.js – React is a library for creating user interface (UI)
- jQuery – a small library designed to simplify HTML DOM tree traversal and manipulation, event handling, CSS animation, and Ajax.
C# has remained consistently popular and one of the “core” languages since it performs well and can be used for a variety of projects. C# is a .NET programming language developed by Microsoft.
a. Benefits of C#
C# is based upon object-oriented programming, making it possible to build the app incrementally and support easier management. C# syntax resembles human language and gains the benefits of using Visual Studio for development.
b. Drawbacks of C#
Now quite the same performance as C++ due to two-stage compilation and relies on .NET, which may not be in sync with the overall tech stack and requires even greater knowledge to use.
c. What is C# used for
C# is ideal for back-end/server-side architecture and for developing Windows desktop applications, but it can be used cross-platform and even for mobile app development (Xamarin uses C#). C# is the primary language for game development using the Unity game engine.
R is a programming language and free environment developed at Bell Laboratories, similar to the S language.
a. Benefits of R
R is open-source, allowing greater ease of access, and is known for producing powerful graphics, streamlining the process of getting work published. R works on a variety of operating systems.
b. Drawbacks of R
R is known to be slow and not well supported, which opens it up to security concerns.
c. What is R used for
R is used for statistical computing (modeling, tests, time-series analysis, clustering) and graphics.
Go (Golang) is an open source programming language developed by Google for server-side networking and infrastructure, but later extended into other use cases.
a. Benefits of Go
Go was created by Google with its typical approach of making things simple, making Go an easy language to use and to learn.
b. Drawbacks of Go
Go is still a relatively ‘new’ language, meaning there has been less time to develop comprehensive frameworks or libraries or to work out the kinks in the language (e.g. inconsistencies do arise).
c. What is Go used for
Go is mostly used on server-side / backend systems, but can also be used for DevOps, cloud, artificial intelligence and data science and even some games.
HTML is the standard markup language for the web.
a. Benefits of HTML
HTML is easy to learn and use, making it the backbone of any kind of webpage and hugely accessible to even novice users. HTML is supported by extensive frameworks and grid systems for responsive design, allowing developers to focus more on refinement than full coding. Text is compressible, helping with speed.
b. Drawbacks of HTML
HTML is designed for static content only. Although newer HTML standards are more secure, added thought needs to be given to address security
c. What is HTML used for
Swift is an iOS programming language introduced by Apple in 2014, becoming open-source one year later.
a. Benefits of Swift
Swift is known to be a friendly language, ideally suited for new programmers learning with the Swift Playgrounds, with core attributes of “safety, fastness and expressiveness”. Swift works with existing Objective-C code and with Cocoa frameworks.
b. Drawbacks of Swift
Swift is still an immature language with a minimal number of libraries, frameworks, and tools and limitations in the number of skilled developers. Swift is highly dependent on third-party tools, leading to potential compatibility issues.
c. What is Swift used for
Swift is used for iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, tvOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps, as well as for Linux.
a. Benefits of PHP
PHP is known for its simplicity, speed, and flexibility. PHP is open-source and object-oriented with a simple syntax. PHP is well supported by all leading databases, portable across all platforms, and supported by many frameworks.
b. Drawbacks of PHP
As an interpreted language, PHP is known to execute more slowly. PHP is also not a strict language, so PHP code can become poorly structured when worked on by various teams or over time.
c. What is PHP used for
PHP is used primarily in web development, used by over 78% of all websites whose server-side programming is known. PHP can be used for both static and dynamic / interactive web pages, applications, and eCommerce platforms, with particular strengths for databases.
d. Top PHP Frameworks
- Laravel – Laravel is aweb app development framework known for expressive and elegant syntax. Laravel leverages the Blade template engine, which is powerful, and includes many built-in object-oriented libraries with great features.
- Symfony – Known to be one of the most reliable frameworks, Symfony provides bundles and components to improve developer productivity.
- CodeIgniter – CodeIgniter is a very light framework (2MB with documentation), MVC-based, fast, reliable and ideal for dynamic web apps.
- CakePHP – CakePHP leverages a templating system and lets developers create standalone libraries, components, extensions, and helpers to reuse code when making web apps.
- Yii – Yii is an open-source PHP framework for large-scale web apps, with extensible tools, integration with jQuery and AJAX features, and Gii to ease the process of rapid prototyping.
Kotlin was adopted as the official programming language for developing Android applications by Google in 2017, replacing Java with a clean, powerful language that fixes all the things developers disliked about Java.
a. Benefits of Kotlin
Kotlin is open-source, mature, and well-supported. More than that, Kotlin improves upon Java by being simple, powerful, and less prone to errors. Kotlin is faster to set up and reduces maintenance over Java.
b. Drawbacks of Kotlin
If switching from Java, there can be a high cost to train on Kotlin and there are fewer Kotlin experts yet.
c. What is Kotlin used for
Kotlin is primarily used for Android applications, with many Java apps being rewritten in Kotlin.
5 Other Programming Languages to Pay Attention to
Some of the other notable programming languages include:
Ruby is a consistently popular choice among programmers for a variety of cross-platform projects. Ruby is an interpreted, high-level, dynamically typed language that leverages just-in-time compilation.
3. Visual Basic
The current version of Visual Basic got launched in 2002 and it runs on .NET, a multi-paradigm object-oriented programming language. Developed by Microsoft, Visual Basic is used to make desktop apps for Windows.
A family of two interpreted, dynamic programming languages favored for CGI and for system and network programming and for GUIs. Though not elegant, Perl is a powerful language, which some refer to as the “duct tape that holds the Internet together.”
A language that supports both object-oriented and functional programming, Scala is interoperable with Java, making it well suited for Android development.
What is the most widely used programming language?
What are the most popular programming languages for mobile apps?
Is .NET a programming language?
.NET is a framework for building software, not a language itself. The primary (but not only) languages developers use to build software on the .NET Framework are C# and Visual Basic.
Technology today is changing at a rapid pace, but at the base of almost every new innovation is a programming language. While programming languages fluctuate over time, organizations looking to create a new product or update a legacy product will want to future-proof their ideas with a programming language that is well-supported, backed by skilled IT personnel, and versatile enough to do the job today – and in the future.
Ready to get started on your new idea? At Net Solutions, we have experts in all the top programming languages, frameworks, and libraries to help bring your idea to life.
Request Free Consultation
Hire Experts to Build Innovative Products for Your Business