Is Python’s popularity peaking? Will the programming language’s limitations end its rapid rise?
Python’s unstoppable rise is widely recognized , with some predicting it will soon become the most popular programming language in the world.
But while millions of people use Python each day, and there’s little sign of the exponential growth in users tailing off, there are doubts about the sustainability of that growth.
The recent Python Language Summit was warned that Python faces an “existential risk” if support for mobile and new web platforms doesn’t improve. Python currently also makes it more difficult to package up apps for non-developers than is true of other languages.
“I have a question about Python. It’s there, well established in the top three now, it’s become a lingua franca for data science, it’s proved itself general purpose. Or has it?” he said.
“I have been noticing some chatter from folks recently that are seemingly arguing we might be at Peak Python, because while it has found a place in AI/ML, it’s not really nailing other opportunities. That is, might it face stronger headwinds going forward?”
“Which raises the question of what its path is moving forward, and what opportunities it’s positioned for. Still, I wouldn’t bet against Python. It’s good at so many things.”
The limitations of Python in important areas such as mobile platform support are well-known within the Python community.
Speaking about Python’s mobile support earlier this year, Barry Warsaw, longtime Python developer and Python Steering Council member, said: “Python, right now, doesn’t have a great story there,” going on to talk about how it was an ambition for iPhone and Android users to download an app and “never even know it was written in Python”.
With the number of processor cores inside modern chips continuing to climb, with up to 48 cores in Intel’s latest server offerings, Warsaw is also keen to see Python get better at spreading tasks across multiple cores.
That said, Redmonk’s Governor concludes “there’s plenty of life left in the old dog yet” and the Python community is working on proposals to make it easier to package up Python apps for non-developers and to improve multi-core processor support.
There’s also no sign that Python’s popularity is tailing off, with Python reaching an all-time high ranking in the TIOBE Index in July.