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The application space is the place to be. A lot of work has been done in the low-level Linux arena, and it continues, but the growth over the last few years has been in the application space. With that being the case, which language are developers utilizing to build these apps? In short, it depends, which I know does not come as a huge surprise. But, with the data that we have, we are able to determine which languages are leading the way.

The language that finds itself on the top of the mountain is Java. Being around open source software for over 15 years, this was not always the case. Early on, we did not see a lot of interest in Java developers, but boy has that changed. It is the definitive leader in the application space currently. While the numbers have not grown in the last six quarters, the sheer overall number is impressive. On average, companies are asking for Java skills in over 1 in 3 job postings focused on FLOSS. Quite a feat for a language that did not register on the radar years ago. And, based on its heavy use with Android, it would not be a surprise to see this number increase in the future.

Another language that is used prominently in the application space is C++. While its numbers can't quite compete with that of Java, it still commands a large marketshare in this arena. Whereas Java is asked for in 1 of 3 postings, C++ is required in 1 of 4. Much like that of Java, its numbers have remained relatively stable over the last six quarters. C++ has always been heavily utilized, and even though Java has superseded it, it remains a highly relevant language.

Moving toward the web application space, there has been a changing of the guard over the years. Early on, the clear choice was to develop most web applications utilizing PHP. As was discussed in the previous article on scripting, this has changed over the years. There appears to have been some deterioration in the usage of PHP in the last couple of years. In the last year and a half alone, there has been a precipitous decline of over 30%. That is an alarming number, and only time will tell if the trend continues.

Claiming some of PHP's thunder initially was that of Ruby on Rails. For a number of years, I watched companies and developers make that transition. Ruby on Rails went through a period of time where it was “the” language of choice in this space. However, from the numbers we have gathered, it appears that its luster has lost a little of its edge. While it is not experiencing any kind of decline like that of PHP, its numbers have been remained relatively flat, so the growth that it once experienced appears to have stagnated.
The king of the hill, at the moment, in the web application space appears to be Javascript. It garners the largest overall numbers. While its numbers have remained flat, much like Ruby on Rails, it has amassed a larger audience. On average over the last six quarters, companies are requiring Javascript skills in 1,500 of the 10,000 job listings analyzed. That is nearly 70% more than either PHP or Ruby on Rails.

With PHP in decline and Ruby on Rails and Javascript stagnate, is anyone in the web application space growing? The outlier in this group seems to be Golang. Created by a couple of developers inside Google in 2007, it appears that this language is starting to gain a wider audience. While the overall numbers pale in comparison to the other three discussed, it has seen a 50% increase in the last year and a half. It will be very interesting to watch if this trend continues. In my opinion, I expect that we will continue to see gains in Golang at the expense of the other three.
As always, we will monitor each of these languages moving forward to watch trends in the marketplace. And, a keen eye will be kept on any new entrants that enter the radar. It is an exciting and dynamic area of development; one that will provide results that are ever-changing over time.

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