That milestone is all the more significant given a sometimes rocky transition from the second version of Python, which the language’s developers stopped supporting this year, to the third version.
Python’s continued success wasn’t a given. The long transition from Python 2 to Python 3 in particular could have shunted developers elsewhere. Python 3 was first released in 2008, and the team initially planned to stop supporting Python 2 in 2015, meaning there would be no further bug fixes and security updates from the official project. But they extended that deadline to 2020 when it became clear that many developers would need more time to update their code to the newer version.
O’Grady cites Python’s versatility as one reason for its ongoing popularity. Companies like Google, Dropbox, and Instagram all rely heavily on Python, as do countless smaller ventures. It also has a home in academia as the preferred data-crunching language of many scientists and mathematicians.
RedMonk ranks programming languages based on two criteria: the number of questions asked about each language on the question-and-answer site StackOverflow, and the number of projects based on each language hosted on the Microsoft-owned service GitHub. The idea is to spot trends in the software development profession.
There was little movement in the top 20 languages in RedMonk’s latest report. But O’Grady did flag one rising star further down in the ranks: Dart, a language developed by Google, jumped nine places, from 33rd to 24th in the past 18 months.