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Not all programming languages endure forever. In fact, even the once-most-popular languages crumble away at some point in time. It’s inevitable! New generations of developers embrace other languages and frameworks they find easier to work with. Hence, we bring to you a list of the top 10 dying programming languages 2021.
So, let me begin by stating the metrics using which we’ve arrived at this list.
We looked at what languages were popular with developers active on GitHub, Twitter, Stack Overflow, Freenode, and Reddit. Languages with more forks, repositories, and subscribers scored higher when it came to community engagement.
We looked at Google Trends and Stack Overflow Trends to see which languages experienced an upward (or downward) growth trajectory between 2013 and 2019 to assess which Programming Languages would be dying or at least not worth learning in 2021.
We looked at stackshare.io, techstacks.io, and CodementorX client requests to see what languages startups and enterprises were using to gauge developer demand. For developer supply, we tallied survey data from Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey and results from CodementorX’s proprietary data.
Now that we’ve discussed the criteria, let’s take a look at our list!
Perl is a family of two high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. While the language does have features that ease the task of the programmer, it comes at the expense of greater CPU and memory requirements. Nonetheless, widespread developer embrace of other languages for things like building websites, means that Perl is going to just fall into increasing disuse.
Even if Red Monk has Perl’s popularity declining, it’s still going to take a long time for the language to flatten out completely, given the sheer number of legacy websites that still feature its code. That being said, it’s taking a while for Perl to finally give up the ghost. Its descent has been monitored for quite some time, even as coding boot camps and developers have given it up.
Apple’s Objective-C is 35 years old, and it’s clear that the company wants it dead. Five years ago, Apple executives took to the stage to unveil Swift, its new-and-improved programming language for its software ecosystem. No doubt they expected developers to quickly embrace Swift at Objective-C’s expense.
And to be fair, more developers have begun using Swift, especially as it’s become more feature-rich, but Objective-C hasn’t crashed as much in the popular-language rankings as some folks might have expected. Blame that on 35 years of legacy code, and many developers simply preferring to work with a language they’ve always used.
At some point, though, Objective-C will likely fade away entirely. Apple’s too keen on its eventual demise, and Swift is becoming an incredibly effective language for building iOS, macOS, and cross-platform apps.
As mentioned by several reports, a gradual decline is being observed in the popularity and usage of ColdFusion. Despite being updated by Adobe on a regular basis, ColdFusion is yet to gain momentum in the market and the programmer’s community alike.
Adobe has launched ColdFusion 11 with a number of advanced features to help programmers to build and deploy both web applications and mobile apps rapidly. It further allows developers to use the enterprise, developer, standard, or express version of ColdFusion 11 according to their needs and budget.
However, there is a number of factors such as the poor quality of debugging, lack of package manager and lack of performance of the CFScript, that affect the popularity and market share of this commercial framework.
COBOL 60, created in 1960, is an acronym for Common Business-Oriented Language. As the name suggests it was designed primarily for business use. Programmers are more comfortable using static typing Java or dynamic typing Python. COBOL is difficult to use because it has strong typing rules and is more difficult to parse. As a result, big corporations are definitely showing symptoms of moving on!
Having said that, the jury is still out on whether COBOL is one of the dead programming languages or not. This is because it lives on in quite a few legacy systems that are expensive to update.
Descended from ALGOL 60, Pascal is the creation of Niklaus Wirth. It’s named after the French mathematician Blaise Pascal, who invented the first mechanical calculator. Pascal is an imperative and procedural programming language that was originally designed for teaching programming languages.
The story of this language is pretty simple and tragic. Pascal (the programming language) led to the creation of Delphi. Delphi soon took the place of Pascal, condemning it to the list of dead programming languages.
Erlang is a general-purpose, functional programming language, and a garbage-collected runtime system. It has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance which made it pretty relevant in several large telecommunication systems. While its presence remained constant, Erlang’s showing on other channels wasn’t enough to boost its Community Engagement. Last year, Erlang ranked 5th in terms of the worst job market. Hence, Erlang has made it so high up on our list of Top 10 Dying Programming Languages 2020.
What is noteworthy is the fact that Erlang being a purely functional language is not the sole factor behind Erlang’s decline. While there are still more jobs for Erlang developers than there are developers available, when it is compared to other languages, the demand for Erlang is a lot less.
It was conceived as a common subset for researches of non-strict semantics. So it basically was a unification of Miranda, Clean and a dozen of more obscure languages. The purpose was to use the same syntax in research papers, more or less.
Over time it turned into THE language for the non-strict research, and GHC turned into implementation. All other implementations essentially have died long ago.
Supposedly, Haskell is headed for a major standard update in 2020. A number of prominent firms and projects (Facebook, GitHub, etc.) have all used Haskell to implement vital programs at one point or another. However, Haskell continues to flatline on RedMonk’s long-term language rankings, suggesting that there’s virtually no developer buzz around it.
Dying, or totally dead?
While CoffeeScript’s growth was already largely in decline from 2013 to 2018, it declined even more sharply from 2018 to 2019. Of all of the languages on this list of Top 10 Dying Programming Languages 2020, CoffeeScript had the biggest decline on Google Trends and the second-biggest decline on Stack Overflow Trends, putting it dead last in terms of Growth and Trends in 2019.
This purely functional, domain-specific language was developed for declaratively creating web browser-based graphical user interfaces, with emphasis on usability. While Elm’s growth trajectory was rising from 2013 to 2018, it declined drastically from 2018 to 2019.
The problem is that it’s been almost two years since the last update to Elm language. This makes Elm look sad and dead to the newcomers. This doesn’t mean Elm is not usable or not mature enough for production work. However, it does make Elm looks stale by comparison. It means Elm will not get as much recurring exposure to broader and new adopters.
Not having regular Elm releases greatly reduces exposure to the language. In effect, it kills the adoption of Elm and its momentum and carries the risk of becoming purely academic unless it sees real growth in adoption.
While Microsoft created C# to target its own CLR runtime, its engineers also created a version of Gates’ beloved BASIC language, named it Visual Basic.NET. The language still bore the syntax of BASIC, but the coding approach was similar to that of C#. It was inevitable that the world would embrace one at the expense of the other. After all, the majority of .NET developers are C# developers, and their numbers are only growing.
That’s why Visual Basic.NET has been reduced to C#’s little stepbrother in hospice care. That means opportunities for VB developers going forward will become niche if not non-existent. Hence, it tops our list of the Top 10 Dying Programming Languages in the year 2020.
As more developers move on to other languages, more companies are forced to abandon their outdated applications, which further decreases demand for developers, causing more developers to move on to other languages. Applications built in VB can be extended in any .NET language, hence, jobs are few and running out.
Meanwhile, if you ever wondered about which languages are (probably) slated for continuing uptake and possible greatness, we have a list for that, too.
With that, we come to the end of our list of Top 10 Dying Programming Languages 2020!
Got a Question? Please mention it in the comments section and we will get back to you. To know more about programming languages, visit edureka.co and achieve all your learning goals this year.
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