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PHP plummeted to position #17 on the TIOBE Programming Index in April 2024 from #12 in March 2024, TIOBE Software CEO Paul Jansen pointed out in his post about the rankings in April 2024. C++ continues to pull ahead of Java and solidify its place in the top three programming languages. The TIOBE Programming Community Index (Figure A) shows trends in programming languages based on search engine volume.

Trends year-over-year from the TIOBE Index.
Figure A. Trends year-over-year from the TIOBE Index. Image: TIOBE Software

The programming language PHP’s “glory days seem to be over”

“Nowadays PHP still has a strong presence in the field of small and medium websites, and is the language behind the most popular web content management system WordPress. So, PHP is certainly not gone, but its glory days seem to be over,” Jansen wrote about the TIOBE Index.

Since the beginning of the TIOBE index in 2001, PHP has faced stiff competition in the realm of website building from web development frameworks like Rails, Django and React, which were built on JavaScript, Ruby or Python. PHP experienced a long list of security vulnerabilities that may have struck a blow to its popularity.

However, movement in the world of programming languages is sometimes best looked at over decades instead of months.

“I don’t think PHP will fall further that quickly,” Jansen said in an email to TechRepublic. “I expect it to stay in the top 20 for at least another year.”

PHP was the ninth most popular programming language in the index in April 2023.

Other changes in the TIOBE Index in April

Another notable shift in the index lately has been the return of the venerable language Fortran. First used in 1958, Fortran rose from 20th place in April 2023 to 10th in April 2024. Jansen said he will likely do more analysis of Fortran’s popularity in advance of the TIOBE Index next month.

For more changes in the TIOBE Index in April, see TechRepublic’s Top 10 Most Popular Programming Languages.

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