Github Most Popular Languages – Will Python Overtake Java

Github Most Popular Languages – Will Python Overtake Java

Tracy Watson

04/02/2020

7 min read

github language trends

Every technology is built with a programming language. Some are more popular than others, and each one is best suited for creating certain features. Every year GitHub comes out with its ranking of the most popular languages, and the most recent results are very interesting because we see that Python is now more popular than Java. The entire 2019 rankings look like the following: 

  1. JavaScript
  2. Python
  3. Java
  4. C++
  5. C
  6. PHP
  7. C#
  8. Shell
  9. Go
  10. TypeScript

This is significant because this is the first time Python has overtaken Java, and this is even more impressive given that Python was in fourth place five years ago. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Python vs. Java to try to understand why Python has become more popular in the Git programming language rankings since both are widely used for creating web solutions and others as well. Let’s start by getting a brief history of both languages.

History of Python

Python was created in the late 1980s by the Dutch programmer Guido Van Rossum. Mainly what he did was take the syntax of the language he was looking to replace, called ABC Programming Language, as well as some of its good features and used it to create a new scripting language that did not have the problems of the old one. In case you were wondering about the name, the inspiration came from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which was the name of a popular show running on BBC at the time.

When Guido Van Rossum released Python for the first time in 1991, it came as a welcomed new addition to the coding family since developers needed to write fewer code to express the same functions compared to a language like Java and C. Overall it provided code that was easy to read and improved the efficiency of the developers.

python vs java

History of Java

A lot of people do not know this, but Java was originally called Oak when it was first created by James Gossling in 1991. There were five main criteria for creating Java:

  1. It should be an object-oriented language
  2. The program, upon which it was created, should be able to run on many operating systems
  3. It must include support for computer networks
  4. It should securely run code from remote sources
  5. The best of all other object-oriented languages must be included in Java

One of the biggest reasons for its popularity from the get-go was that it promised developers the opportunity to “write once and everywhere.” This includes free runtimes on popular platforms. Additionally, it offered more enhanced security, which was configurable as well.

Now that we know the background of Python and Java let’s compare them in order to try and find out why Python was able to overtake Java.

Python vs. Java

One of the biggest differences between Python and Java is that the latter uses static types, whereas Python is dynamic. This does not explain why Python is Github trending, but this difference will fundamentally affect the way you design, write, and troubleshoot programs. The code that is written dynamically will be less wordy. This means it will be more readable, and it is more efficient.

Another big difference is in the way the code is compiled. Python compiles the code in runtime, while Java does so in advance and distributes the bytecode. This means that the performs may vary significantly because even running a simple binary tree test can be many times faster in Java.

java projects github

Explaining the Phenomenon in the Git Programming Language Rankings

We mentioned in the previous paragraph that Python is slower than Java, so why is growing at a higher rate? Well, not everything is about speed. For starters, Python is just more productive because it is more concise and expressive, which means that developers need to spend less time writing code for the same operations. Additionally, this makes Python much easier to learn for junior-level programmers. If you are still worried about speed, you need to take into account that even though Python might be slower, you will need to spend less time on development.

Also, we are noticing a lot of growth in Python because there is a lot of interest in Machine Learning. One of the most popular open-source machine learning platforms, TensorFlow, is created with Python. The same thing with Jupyter Notebooks, which are also open-source and allow users to create and share documents that contain live code. Since Machine Learning is the technology of the future, it should come as no surprise that the programming languages they are built with will be more popular than others.

While the GitHub language trends may be interesting all by themselves, it is a good idea to find out the reason for the popularity of a certain language. While Java projects on Github remain popular, we tried to explain why Python is growing at a faster rate.

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