Apple's new programming language, Swift, was introduced just over six months ago at WWDC 2014 and yet it's already leapt 46 spots up the RedMonk programming language rankings, going from 68 to 22 in just one quarter. Poised to become a top 20 language on the charts, it highlights what's so remarkable about Apple and the developer community — their ability to constantly move forward.
Swift: Last, there is the curious case of Swift. During our last rankings, Swift was listed as the language to watch – an obvious choice given its status as the Apple-anointed successor to the #10 language on our list, Objective-C. Being officially sanctioned as the future standard for iOS applications everywhere was obviously going to lead to growth. As was said during the Q3 rankings which marked its debut, "Swift is a language that is going to be a lot more popular, and very soon." Even so, the growth that Swift experienced is essentially unprecedented in the history of these rankings. When we see dramatic growth from a language it typically has jumped somewhere between 5 and 10 spots, and the closer the language gets to the Top 20 or within it, the more difficult growth is to come by. And yet Swift has gone from our 68th ranked language during Q3 to number 22 this quarter, a jump of 46 spots. From its position far down on the board, Swift now finds itself one spot behind Coffeescript and just ahead of Lua. As the plot suggests, Swift's growth is more obvious on StackOverflow than GitHub, where the most active Swift repositories are either educational or infrastructure in nature, but even so the growth has been remarkable. Given this dramatic ascension, it seems reasonable to expect that the Q3 rankings this year will see Swift as a Top 20 language.
To be clear, rankings are nice, but it's what's represented by rankings that matters most. A language is nothing without resources and support. Apple's developer tools and technical services teams are providing a lot of both, including an iBook, blog, and discussion forums. With popularity, however, the community begins to provide even more of the same themselves. It's a virtuous cycle.
As Swift continues to mature, as it starts to play a greater role in iPhone and iPad development, as Playgrounds make it more accessible to more age ranges and people than ever before, there's no telling how far it can go.
Congrats to the Swift team and to all the Swift developers in the community!