So, What Makes a Programming Language Popular?

PROGRAMMING

In this digital world, we are powered by computers. Well, not us as humans, but the machines and gadgets we use on a daily basis. We like to use these gadgets, they make us feel better. We use the said gadgets all the time and we rarely stop to think about what is powering them.

Well, we know that there is some hardware running in the background, sometimes we purchase a thing just because of the hardware. However, there is also the software. Software bridges the gap between us and the machine, making communication possible.

Software is written in a programming language or more than one, as is often the case. What makes a programming language popular, or rather, a good choice? Here are some examples.

Market Demand

This will always be one of the things that will dictate what is popular and what is not. When the mobile market blew up, everyone was on Java and Objective-C, and nowadays, that is not different, except that the iOS developers moved to Swift. When the market dictates that there is a need for a certain type of software or that some hardware will be used more frequently than other, you can be sure that people will be jumping on the programming wagon, with the idea of earning money and saturating the market.

Usability

A programming language is as good as it is usable. With that in mind, C should be the best programming language, being general purpose and good for almost all use cases? Well, yes but not. C has complex syntax and using it for something as simple as generating a web page would require much more effort than it would be worth.

On the other hand, using it to write kernels and operating systems is a much better use case for this language, as it would be for PHP to work in the back-end of a website. A language is popular if it is usable. The C family is popular because it is powerful and usable in all kinds of ways, but so are Java, JavaScript, Go, Python, and many others, because they are also usable in more than one way.

The Syntax

Programmers can be lazy, they want the money and not the hassle. With that, they shy away from languages such as C, not to mention assembly. They choose something a lot simpler like Python, which has easy-to-understand syntax.

When a language is easy to get into and easy to learn, then you can be on your way to earning money in no time at all. 

Programming languages vary in popularity and these are some of the reasons why they are popular. There are others, but these should cover the majority of the scenarios.