This Week in Programming: Ignore the Rumors of C++’s Meteoric Rise

12 Sep 2020 6:00am, by

Well, this month’s TIOBE Index is out, and there’s headline after headline after headline touting the revival of C++, and sounding the death knell for Java. If this seems like a bit of grasping for an attention-grabbing conclusion, that’s because it mostly likely is just that. While many of these stories simply rehash the TIOBE’s conclusions — C++ is “now the fastest-growing programming language” concludes one — some healthy skepticism needs to be applied here to see what’s really going on.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the TIOBE Index is calculated by counting hits for +”<language> programming” on the most popular search engines, and even the TIOBE CEO Paul Jansen writes that he thinks “that the new C++20 standard might be one of the main causes for this.”

ISO C++ committee chair Herb Sutter penned a blog post just last week noting that “with the technical work for C++20 completed in February, the standard has now been technically approved, meaning that formal publication can be expected to happen around the end of 2020.” This might be just the sort of news to propel C++ in the search rankings, rather than any particular new inclination toward its use.

While everyone is busy touting C++ as having a big comeback, iProgrammer further takes this idea to task, asking if picking C++ is an odd choice, noting “Why would anyone conclude from this chart of the popularity of C++ back to September 2001, which is TIOBE started the dataset that it has charted ever since, that it was currently ‘doing well.'” As far as the “what’s really going on” part, it’s best shown by this graph, which shows C++, by TIOBE’s rankings, in steady decline, with a slight recent uptick. A high percentage change over the short term for continually dwindling numbers does not make a “fastest-growing programming language,” that’s for sure.

This Week in Programming

  • Codespaces Consolidation: In case you were confused about the difference between Visual Studio Codespaces and GitHub Codespaces, well, linger no longer — the two have become one, with Visual Studio Codespaces consolidating into GitHub Codespaces. Why? “During the preview we’ve learned that transitioning from a repository to a codespace is the most critical piece of your workflow and the vast majority of you preferred a richly integrated, native, one-click experience,” they write. And since they just happen to own the repository used by some 50M developers, why not? For more details on the transition, check out the FAQ. If you’re already a Visual Studio Codespaces user, you can move over to the GitHub Codespaces private beta already, and the current Visual Studio Codespaces portal will be retired by Feb. 17, 2021.
  • GitHub Gets a Teams Integration: It’s possible that the most surprising part of this news is that it took so long for GitHub to integrate with Microsoft Teams, seeing as Microsoft bought GitHub back in June of 2018. After all, and as they note in their announcement, they’ve “had a GitHub + Slack integration for years” and are just now getting around to one for Teams…which is actually still in public beta. To give it a try, go to the Microsoft Teams app store and install GitHub (Preview), or directly install from here.

  • Rust Wants to Know Why You Never Call Anymore: The Rust team is doing its yearly soul searching survey, wherein they want to know if you use the language, and if not, WHY? All kidding aside, the team has launched the 2020 State of Rust Survey, which helps them figure out why you might not have adopted Rust yet, why you left it behind after giving it a shot, or why you continue to use the language, among many other things. That means, even if you’ve never really given Rust the time of day, they want you to head over to the 2020 State of Rust Survey and tell them why. As usual, they will be writing up their findings after they stop accepting submissions on September 24th. Check out last year’s results for a peek at the insight they glean.
  • Looking Ahead to the 2021 Rust Roadmap: As we just mentioned, one of the purposes of the Rust survey is for the team to figure out where to focus its efforts moving forward, and part of that is planning the 2021 Roadmap with a call for blog posts. So, not only should you fill out the survey, but also write a blog post about your experience with Rust — language features, tooling improvements, organizational changes, ecosystem needs — and let them know about it so they can consider your thoughts for the year ahead. To that end, they’ve also created an open request for comments (RFC) on a possible Rust 2021 edition, which they hope to have done in the next several weeks. By the way, before you go developing your own blog from scratch, the team notes that any blog (and even GitHub gists) are just fine.

  • GitHub Continues to Shine Light on Users: Recently, GitHub introduced its README project highlighting open source maintainers, and this week the company continued that trend with the introduction of the GitHub Stars Program, which it says will “recognize those who go above and beyond.” Perhaps even more importantly, they’ll get some perks, such as early access to features, event and speaking invites, “insight calls” with the GitHub teams, and “all of the swag.” If you know some hardworking developer who you think deserves such recognition (and perks) you can go ahead and nominate them.
  • Oh Shit, Git!?! For a humor-filled, profanity-laced guide to dealing with all your screw-ups while using Git, just head on over to Oh Shit, Git!?! If potty-mouthed instructions aren’t your thing, you can also go to Dangit, Git!?! Both sites walk you through the most common problems you might face while using the open source distributed version-control system, but rather than relying on you knowing the correct terminology for the problem you’re experiencing, you can instead just scroll down to “Oh shit, I accidentally committed to the wrong branch!” for example.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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