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December 14, 2018updated 17 Dec 2018 10:33am

GitHub 3 Kotlin: What is this Fastest Growing Language?

"A clear trend toward more statically typed languages"

By CBR Staff Writer

What’s the fastest growing language on GitHub?

The repository is seeing a “clear trend toward more statically typed languages focused on type safety and interoperability” the company said this week, including Kotlin, TypeScript and Rust – and it is the former that is surging fastest.

KotlinThis week’s annual “Octoverse” roundup of activity on the code repository reveals a lot about the state of the developer world, from new owner Microsoft’s continued open source contribution leadership to the fastest growing projects.

Kotlin’s continued rise stands out.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a statically typed programming language that targets Android, JavaScript and Native. It was developed (and is maintained) by software company JetBrains: the aim being to create “a good tool for all application developers, at all scales and on all platforms.”

The project started in 2010 and gained significant banking in May 2017 when Google started offering its support for the language. The reasons for its popularity are various: its 100 percent interoperability with official Android language Java is a major draw, as is the fact that is runs on Java Virtual Machine.

Kotlin also compiles down into JavaScript, making it handy for front and back-end development (it was initially created in response to limitations in Java which were hindering development of JetBrains’ software products and after an evaluation of all other JVM languages proved unsuitable.) 

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Pusher’s 2018 “State of Kotlin” report gives further insight: use of the language has been doubling each year and over 79 percent of developers are using it to develop Android applications, 31 percent using it in the back-end/serverside and 30 percent also using it in software development kits (SDKs) and libraries.

(The uninitiated can learn more here).

GitHub: What Else is Happening?

With over 96 million code repositories, 31 million developers (more this year than its first six years combined) and the continued prominence of new owner Microsoft as the largest open source contributor: it’s been a striking year for GitHub and its annual “Octoverse” review paints a compelling picture of a world, indeed, being eaten by software. Some highlights below

Biggest Projects by Contributor

VS Code (19,000), React (10,000), and Tensorflow (9,300), once again top GitHub’s list of open source projects by contributor count. New to the list are projects that manage containerized applications, share Azure documentation, and consolidate TypeScript type definitions: Kubernetes, Azure Docs, and DefinitelyTyped.

Biggest Contributors 

Microsoft dominates, with Google in second place and Red Hat in third. Three academic institutions make the top 10: UC Berkely, in fourth place with 2700 contributions, the University of Washington with 1800 and MIT with 1700.


Machine learning and React are the hottest trending topics among the GitHub community: PyTorch, a machine learning library, and React-based web development tools like Gatsby are both among the fastest growing topics this year. Topics across different areas of blockchain development are also trending…

See also: Why Programming Language “Rust” is Getting all the Love

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