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JavaScript, Python, and Java remain most popular languages on GitHub

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / Elle Aon)

In addition to several other interesting insights, the annual Octoverse report for 2020 from GitHub reveals that JavaScript continues to be the preferred programming language for developers, at least on GitHub.

With over 56 million developers, GitHub is the largest platform for collaborative development. It uses the Octoverse reports to help get a pulse of its community of developers. 

Last year, Python passed Java as the second-most popular language on GitHub by repository contributors and it continued to maintain its runners-up position this year as well. Java held on to the last spot on the podium.

Language soup

The surprise move was exhibited by Microsoft-supported open source TypeScript language. Often referred to as a superset of JavaScript, the language moved from seventh place in the last two years to the fourth spot in 2020.

Another Microsoft-developed language, C# retained its fifth spot, which it regained last year. One of the two big losers was PHP at the sixth spot (down from fourth in 2019). It was followed by C++ at the seventh spot, which continues its downward momentum following a high of fifth in 2018.

chart of top programming languages

(Image credit: GitHub)

C and Shell swapped places from last year and clock in at eighth and ninth spot respectively. Ruby continues to bring up the rear of the top ten. The language has been on a steady decline since 2015, losing two places every year, before settling at the tenth spot a couple of years back in 2018. 

According to the report, not all developers engage on the platform, equally. The new ones who’ve been on the platform for less than a month usually get a taste for the collaborative style of development by creating and commenting on issues. On the other hand, veterans who’ve been on GitHib for over two years help shape code by reviewing and creating pull requests.  

The Octoverse is a collection of three reports that break down the interactions among the developers in terms of security, developer productivity, and how collaboration and development patterns have shaped in light of the global pandemic.