Swift, the programming language Apple launched in the summer of 2014 to replace the aging Objective-C, has entered the TIOBE index of programming languages top 10 for the first time in its short life.
For many industry observers, it was clear that Swift was a success from the moment Apple announced it. Their beliefs were confirmed in December 2015, when Apple open-sourced Swift's source code, and the language become the most popular programming language repository on GitHub within a week.
While it was the most liked GitHub programming language repo, its userbase remained small, mostly because developers hadn't had timed to learn and deploy it in projects.
The TIOBE index, which measures the popularity of programming languages based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, third party vendor,s and search engines queries from Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu, noted the same.
"The expectations were high right from the start, but adoptation took off slowly," the TIOBE team explained. "That is for good reasons by the way because the installed base of Objective-C code is quite large. New applications are written in Swift, whereas old apps that are written in Objective-C are not actively migrated to Swift."
But as time went by, app developers slowly started to create all their new projects in Swift, which was much simpler and less verbose than Objective-C, and the needle kept moving as the number of Swift coders, projects, tutorials, and mentions started to grow, and Objective-C activity started to slow down.
March 2017 marks the first time that Swift breaks into TIOBE's Top 10 Programming Languages list, after occupying the #14 spot in February. At the same time, Objective-C is now ranked #16 and expected to go down.
A similar ranking from PYPL (PopularitY of Programming Language) also has Swift ranked #10, verifying and reinforcing the TIOBE index's findings.
Despite its entry in the top #10, most experts expect Swift's rise to stop here, mainly because Swift is only designed for the creation of Mac and iOS apps, unlike C, C++, Python, or Java, which cater to a multitude of platforms.
"Since Swift is mainly intended to write applications in Apple's ecosystem, it is expected that it won't rise much further," the TIOBE team concludes in this month's ranking summary.
Java continues to lead both the TIOBE and PYPL indexes, driven mostly by Android's success, but also by its support for desktop and web applications.
The biggest surprise in the whole index is Assembly ranked #13. This is the very same language that was used to write code the Apollo Moon missions.
And that's not the most surprising detail. Back in June 2016, Assembly's popularity grew enough to garner a spot in the top 10. If you're wondering why Assembly is becoming so popular once more, the answer is three words: Internet of Things.