Elixir language growth - the TIOBE index

There’s a new TIOBE index report that came out that shows Elixir is still not in the top 50 used languages.

It also goes on to call Elixir a “hipster programming language”.

The hipster programming languages Kotlin, Elixir and Hack didn’t progress much this month. Kotlin lost 5 positions, Hack lost 6 positions and Elixir is still not in the top 50 losing also 5 positions.


Does anyone have any Elixir numbers on growth? I really love the language and it’s ecosystem, I’m just curious what the numbers are.

What are some things that we as developers can do to extend Elixir?

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There is this very long thread https://elixirforum.com/t/what-can-we-do-to-accelerate-the-adoption-of-elixir/2398/25 where you might find some ideas.

Well that just shows the level of maturity of people preparing the report.
It’s hard to estimate uptake but going by the number of listings on Indeed they have grown significantly since march I’d say like 3x.


Trending repos on github - https://github.com/trending/elixir (e.g. daily), and the package manager - https://hex.pm/ (“new packages” / “recently updated”) - can be used to gauge the activity; As well as this forum (usually 5-8 new posts per day) and numerous elixir news feeds like https://twitter.com/elixirstatus (the amount of elixir-related news feeds on twitter is in itself telling). Another thing is youtube conference videos saturation, which is again very high and there’s never enough time to watch them all.

As you delve deeper into the unknown you find out that the smaller projects of the hipster bunch often have incomparably less traction in the above departments.

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These threads/posts might interest you :003:

In short, I think most of us are very happy with how Elixir is growing - it’s doing extremely well :048:

  1. Build cool things with Elixir
  2. Build cool things for Elixir
  • Spread the word about Elixir (and why it’s so good)
  • Help onboard newcomers by writing blog posts/articles/guides doing screencasts etc
  • Be active in the community - the more active a community is the more attractive it is for others



Growth can be good, but people tend to underestimate the cost of growth too. Massive influxes of new people put strain on existing community members and infrastructure, and can make it difficult to maintain cultural values. Cultural values in the programming world constitute things like code and library best practices, attitude towards beginners, and the overall tone of dialogue.

To me focusing on getting on some list is an empty goal. So long as we have people coming to this community, learning, and writing Elixir that’s success for me.


^^ :023:

I feel the people we need to attract (at this point in time) won’t be paying too much attention to those lists… as is already evident by just looking around.


Oh that’s nothing, I’ve been writing PHP for the last 15 years, heard much worse! :wink:

I actually like it being a smaller community, it means the help on offer is not diluted as much, and hopefully over time I can give back.

When it becomes a “top 50” language, it can quickly turn a community into something unpleasant. I don’t think the focus should be on getting more people using Elixir, rather make the ecosystem and tools so good that people will naturally gravitate towards it.

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No one ever considered me as a hipster - thanks Tiobe index :smiley:
Seriously - Elixir should sooner or later will take Ruby’s place.

Uhhh, wut? Isn’t Kotlin near the number one android programming language now? I heard it had almost (or did?) overtake java…


Yes, I agree with this. I would hate to see Elixir turn into a javascript-like ecosystem.

JavaScript emerged in 1995 and was trapped, for the most part, in the web browser (Netscape Enterprise Server and Rhino notwithstanding) until in 2009 Node.js allowed it to expand its horizons beyond the web browser in a more mainstream context - which apparently was necessary before a lot of people changed their attitude towards it.

Erlang first appeared in 1986 and was designed to be functional, concurrent and fault-tolerant to satisfy key demands of its application domain on the most fundamental level. This lead to the development of the BEAM virtual machine which saw it’s first use first commercial use in 1995. In 2011 Elixir started to make the BEAM more accessible to an audience which potentially would have avoided it based on Erlang’s perceived strange syntax and concepts.

It’s unlikely that these different evolutionary paths would tend to foster similar cultures.

Nevertheless, it’s always worthwhile to be vigilant.

FYI: The Hipster: An Old Term that’s Taken on a Whole New Meaning

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So… firstly: the TIOBE index is completely meaningless. I mean … VB. c’mon :wink:

Their metric of search engine relevance is just so obviously without meaning I’m not sure why anyone takes it seriously. That is not a data set that follows current trends, but discussion and noise. Which correlates coarsely to usage, and certainly will show strongly for more often used languages.

But even if we assume that there is meaning in those numbers, the small numbers for those languages outside the top 20 or so are so small and with so little spread between them, any tiny perturbation will show up huge. So languages jump and fall 5-10 spaces … and it means nothing.

But it is good for TIOBE to keep relevance and eyeballs pointed at them. Ok, part 1: The Critique of TIOBE, done


So … what can we do to grow Elixir?


  • improve documentation. it still isn’t good enough. this is low-hanging fruit. (i should take my own advice here)
  • reach out to companies and open source projects to make them aware of the benefits of Elixir
  • attend local tech events and spread the word
  • create more awesome libraries
  • create end user applications that people can download and use

On that last point … I use node.js on one of my servers because of Ghost, a blogging platform. It is quite nice from a user’s perspective, but their use of node is just horrible for maintenance and deployment. But, it provides a useful application.

What application is useful, that is written in Elixir, that I could use on my server? Honest question :slight_smile:


What about: Sceopa - an open source blogging platform

There’s also Firestorm, which could be skinned to look like a blog perhaps?

But yeah, I think it would be nice to have a Wordpress alternative in Elixir - I’m sure it would attract some of the big blogs out there as Wordpress is a hog.

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Doesn’t necessarily need to be blog related … just a great app.

eJabberd is a good example for erlang.


I dunno, I reckon as soon as some hot shit startup makes a bunch of money with an Elixir stack, the floodgates will open. Enjoy the quiet times. :wink:

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The latest Tiobe index doesn’t show Elixir at all.
I’m not sure if that means it’s dropped out of the top 100, or if they’ve just stopped tracking it.
Redmonk’s rankings should be out this month so it should be interesting to see where they place it.

Elixir’s ranking on somebody’s index is the last thing I care about. The work I see in the Eixir community is excellent. A smaller more cohesive group can often outperform a large unruly mass.


It doesn’t change my opinion of Elixir, but it does make a difference for someone trying to convince their employer, or client to let them use Elixir.

I think Tiobe tends to over rate languages that are used for learning like Scratch over languages that are more industry focussed like Erlang and Elixir.