Is Tiobe Index misinformation?

news, false, conceptEvery month a new Tiobe Index is published purporting to show the most popular programming languages. Except, if you look at other programming language popularity surveys, lists etc, the Tiobe Index increasingly seems to be at odds with everybody else.

Take the programming language C. As you can imagine I have a particular interest in it. I was at first delighted when I saw it at #3 in the Tiobe Index. In fact, in their most recent index it is listed as the 2nd most popular programming language. Well that is just crazy. No matter how much I might want it, there is no way on Earth that it is the 2nd most popular programming language.

It’s not just me saying it. Let’s look at who else says it.

SiteC's RankingComments
Tiobe Index2Updated monthly
GitHub Octoverse Programming languages9Annually- this is October 2022
Reddit Programming languages10Subreddits for programming languages
Red Monk Programming Language Rankings10June 2022. Updated every 6 months
StackOverflow developer survey11Annually
Statista most used programming languages 202211
Hackerrank Developer skills report 202312

There are other programming language lists or surveys but those show what I mean.  No one else has C anywhere that high. Here it’s in positions 9-12 with an average roughly around 10.5 if you exclude Tiobe or 9.3 if you don’t.  I think their methodology is flawed and biased by age. Older languages appear to carry more weight.

Never mind C, what about JavaScript? Everyone else has it in first place (except HackerRank who has it in 4th). Tiobe index has it in 7th. Misinformation is defined as “false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead.”. Maybe that’s a bit harsh but that’s how I regard the Tiobe Index.

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