Most Popular Programming Languages

Most Popular Programming Languages

This article is all about the programming languages. We are going to discuss what programming languages are and how they work to help programmers accomplish their tasks in a simple way. Then we’ll talk about some of the most popular programming languages and briefly describe them.

Programming Languages

A programming language is a formal language designed to communicate instructions that can be understood by a machine, particularly an electronic computer, so that it can perform different functions depending on what instructions it’s been given, like displaying information on the monitor or adding numbers together.

Different types of languages exist, each one with its own unique style and syntax. The three most popular types of languages are scripting languages, Object Oriented Languages (OOP), and functional languages. We will discuss some of the most popular programming languages and describe them shortly.

There are some programming languages which are top rated as per surveys conducted by different organizations across globe. Following is the list of ten top rated programming languages which provides insights into what developers prefer to use when coding websites and software applications.


The Java programming language is the most popular and used programming language. It is a general purpose, multipurpose, object-oriented, distributed computing and it is used in both client and server systems. It was first released in 1995 by James Gosling and Sun Microsystems and has been highly popular ever since then. The platform of this language is the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) which virtualizes the machine on which it has been installed.

Java was created because it needed an easier way to encode for the Internet era. In order to create a program that can be run by this type of machine, developers need to write out instructions in a form known as bytecode which is compiled into hardware instructions that are understandable by computers with runtime systems like JVM or Microsoft.NET virtual machines.

The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) virtualizes the machine on which it has been installed. In order to create a program that can be run by this type of machine, developers need to write out instructions in a form known as bytecode which is compiled into hardware instructions that are understandable by computers with runtime systems like JVM or Microsoft.NET virtual machines.


The C programming language is a very old programming language that was developed in the 1970’s by Dennis Ritchie. Initially named CPL (for Considered Poorly) by its creator, it has been widely used since the 1970’s. This is a single- threaded, structured programming language and is used to create applications that are not too slow but also do not take too much memory and resources.

There are some differences between C and C++ languages but they both are based on the same core principles. The C programming language was designed to think inside the computer’s box and was designed to be an efficient and clean language for the machine era.


The Python programming language was created by Guido Van Rossum in 1990 as an extension to his earlier scripting language called ABC (Augmented BNF Grammar). Python is widely used for general purpose programming and works on many different platforms unlike its predecessor Java. It is an interpreted language, which means it does not require compilation to other languages before execution. Python has gained popularity in the recent years and is one of the most popular and powerful programming languages today.

The main benefits of programming in Python language is that it is very easy to read and write code in this language. This language provides a framework for creating powerful tools and is the backbone of the concept of software development. The features which make it so beneficial are that this language has a simple syntax and can be used to build flexible software applications which can easily be extended in future.


C++ (originally an extension to C called “C with Classes”) was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1985 and is one of the most popular object-oriented programming languages today. Unlike Java, it is not platform dependent (works on all platforms) but does consume greater memory resources than Java, which makes it slower than Java. This is a programming language that uses a style known as generic programming.

C++ stands for “C Plus Plus” and the C++ programming language is an amalgamation of object-oriented, imperative and structured programming languages that add the ability to create abstractions in code making it easier to manage complex projects over time. In addition to this, the syntax in C++ follows closely with its predecessor, C, which allows those who already know how to code in C to quickly pick up the new language.


The JavaScript programming language was originally developed by Netscape to provide web developers with an easy way to add scripting functionality while making the pages interactive. Today, it is used in modern web browsers, like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and it can be used to create network applications and calculate mathematical units as well. It has become one of the most popular languages on the internet today because it is simple and intuitive.

The main benefits of implementing your code in JavaScript is that it is easy to use and understand. The syntax is very simple, as it uses keywords, punctuation and numbers in a way that is somewhat more natural to the English language. In addition to this, the basic concepts are also very easy to grasp with its intuitive style of writing and handling variables.


Perl is a programming language that was created in 1987 by Larry Wall, the author of the popular web development language known as ‘Python’. It is an interpreted, dynamic, high-level programming language and is very efficient. It uses regular expressions to evaluate strings and is often used for system administration.

Perl language is used in network server applications, CGI programs, e-mail scripts and network debugging. In addition to this, it can be used for preparing text files, searching inside the file system, producing HTML pages and processing data from databases.


PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) was developed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 as an extension to the Perl programming language using C++ for its execution mechanism. PHP is a server-side scripting language and can also be used to create network applications but it depends on other languages like Java under the hood.

PHP is an open-source, server-side scripting language that is derived from the Perl programming language and works closely with a wide variety of databases. PHP has been referred to as ‘the software Coca Cola’ for its ease of use and has also accumulated quite a few flaws since then. PHP was developed as an alternative to Perl after it found out that most popular scripting languages are not cross-platform platforms.


C# (pronounced “C Sharp”) is a language that was developed by Microsoft and first released to the public in 2000. The C# programming language is similar to C in its structure but it is object oriented and supports the use of data types, objects and inheritance. It runs on both the client and server side but it depends on other languages like Java under the hood to run properly.

C# language is used in Microsoft products like .NET framework, Xbox 360, Windows Phone OS and mobile applications on Windows based devices. In addition to this, it is also used in the design of web sites and applications.

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)

The JavaScript Object Notation or JSON is a declarative, human-readable data format most commonly used in web applications for transmitting data as simple structures called objects between different systems or computers over the HTTP protocol. JSON was built based on the use of JavaScript and is used for implementing AJAX applications.

JSON is used in many instances including the back-end of web applications when it comes to communication between JavaScript and server or in cases where XML is transferred as raw data. In such cases, it is much easier for web browser to parse data as JSON rather than XML.


Another object oriented programming language, Ruby was conceived in the 1990’s by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto. It is a scripting language that runs on the internet and on the various platforms. It has very readable and comprehensible syntax that makes it very simple to use. The latest version of this language is called ‘Ruby 2’ which can be used to create complex web applications but can also be used to develop advanced desktop applications as well.


Scala or simply called ‘Scala’ is a programming language that was launched by Martin Odersky and Guido Van Rossum in 2007. It uses both object oriented and functional programming techniques to create applications that are more intuitive, easier to use and perform better than other languages. It can be used to develop applications for both the server and the client side as well.


Clojure is another modern language created by Rich Hickey in 2000 which is a very good choice for those who want to write complex web applications from scratch without using a lot of third party libraries. It is a dialect of Lisp that is used to create complex applications for the web and it also depends on Java.


R (known as ‘R Language’) is a programming language and software environment that was developed by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman in 1993. It is a multi-paradigm programming language that uses the statistical programming language known as S to analyse data sets using statistical techniques like linear regression, cluster analysis and other algorithms. It can run on Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux (Debian/Red Hat/Fedora/Suse) or Solaris platforms.


The Advanced Business Application Programming language or ABAP is a language that was developed by the German company SAP AG in the 1980’s. It is used to develop complex applications for enterprise resource planning, client-server computing, data-driven application development and database systems.

ABAP works on the basis of a server-client model and uses an internal code format called ‘ABAP Programs’ which is very fast and efficient.


Fortran (known as FORmula TRANslation) is a programming language that was introduced in 1950 by IBM and has evolved over time to accommodate newer standards like structured array processing, matrix manipulations and improved error handling facilities in addition to the older standalone statements. It is used mainly by scientists and engineers for numerical computations and is suitable for large-scale application development.

AppleScript was originally known as ‘Scheme Script’ and was developed by Apple Inc. in the 1980’s. It is a scripting language that could be used to automate tasks on the Mac OS X operating system or on older versions of the Macintosh operating system.

It appeared initially as a scripting language but was later upgraded to include other functions like an application builder, an interpreted programming language, a dynamic data exchange format and even media playback capabilities through third party tools.

Visual Basic

Visual Basic is a general-purpose visual programming language well known mostly in the corporate world where it is used to create desktop applications, web applications, database programs etc. It is a good choice for beginners as it is easy to learn and can be used to create a wide variety of applications.


Haskell is a programming language that was created by Sir Isaac H. Richard in the 1970’s and it is a functional programming language that works on the basis of ‘constant’ values, giving it an advantage over other languages.

Haskell has a very minimal syntax with no parentheses needed to differentiate its different operators, functions and types. The only thing that needs to be declared is the data type for a variable or any other type required by the program to work properly.


Awk is a programming language and a programming system designed to work with text files and was developed by Brian W. Kernighan in 1974. It is a very simple programming language that can be used to parse text, split it into fields and perform different operations on these fields. It can also be used to count lines, code strings etc


Julia is a programming language that was designed to build complex applications and websites faster than other languages. It allows the user to run pre-existing programs written in C, Python and R as well which makes it a good choice for developers who are not familiar with its syntax.

Common Lisp

Common Lisp is an object-oriented, high performance, multi-paradigm programming language that was designed in the late 1980’s by Guy L. Steele Jr., Gerald Jay Sussman and others at MIT.

It is a general purpose language that works on different platforms and can be used to create desktop applications, website development and network security applications as well which makes it quite popular among developers today.


Erlang is a general-purpose programming language that was created by Charles H. Moore in 1986 and is used to build different kinds of applications, especially for distributed computing.

This language was developed with the intention of having a programming language that would support parallel processing, which means many calculations can be done simultaneously without affecting each other unlike sequential languages where they all have to take turns to get their work done.


Elixir is a functional programing language that was created by José Valim in 2012 and it runs on the Erlang virtual machine. It allows developers to work with complex applications in fewer lines of code than other languages. It is quite popular among developers and web designers due to the fact that it compiles very fast and is highly scalable.


Created by Yaron Minsky in 1996, OCaml is a functional programming language that stands for Objective Caml and is used for doing various things like designing GUI applications, modeling physical systems etc.

It is a relatively new programming language and is gaining more popularity with each passing day.


OCamlPro is a programming language that improves the functional programming language OCaml and was developed by CamlPro Ltd. in 2005. It is a stable, well-tested and usable version of OCaml which has been ported and integrated with the GNU Compiler Collection so that it can be used to create a wide variety of applications.

It can also be used for developing web applications as well as desktop applications but also comes with an embedded database engine which makes it ideal for use in security systems etc.


There are lots of other programming languages too, but the list above comprises of the most popular choice as of now. However, most people have to face problems with programming languages like C or C++ when it comes to large-scale software development due to lack of resources. So, they need something that can help them create complex applications but at the same time, not take a lot of their time and energy with regards to developing these applications.

You have to know lots of programming languages in order to choose the best for your project and as a result, increase your chances of success. So, start taking up some classes for the language that you are interested in as soon as possible and learn it properly so that you can begin working on your programming project immediately!

What is your favorite programming language? Write it down in our comment section.

Please have a look at our other interesting articles at PC Ocular website.

Benkő Attila is a Hungarian senior software developer, independent researcher and author of many computer science related papers.

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