New Surveys on Programming Languages Popularity Highlight Advantages of Modernized VxWorks

New studies reveal several noteworthy trends in programming language preferences:

  •  Python’s popularity continues to surge. Python is rated #1 in the February 2023 TIOBE Programming Community Index; its use grew by 50% in the last year alone according to Binmile; and it is now the top programming language employers want in job candidates according to Coding Dojo.
  • C++ has replaced Java as the #3 most popular language in the TIOBE index, with a rating of 13.94%, with growth of 5.93% compared to last year.
  • Rust is the “most loved” programming language among developers according to Stack Overflow, and is also the second-fastest-growing (50.5% per year) according to Github.

It is no coincidence that Wind River VxWorks is the first and only RTOS that supports Python, Rust, C++17, and Boost (a popular open-source set of libraries and templates for C++ projects). We saw this coming years ago. Wind River anticipated a surge in growth and popularity for these specific languages, and we knew supporting them in VxWorks would benefit our customers in multiple ways. For example:

  • It expands the options for embedded software developers. Programmers can pick the language they love and innovate their way, right away. No more religious wars over selecting a project-specific language, no more delays from learning and training.
  • It helps address the talent shortage.The languages supported by VxWorks are not only popular but relatively easy to learn and use. Python, for example, is very accessible to newbie developers who don’t have a ton of experience in the embedded software world. This means with VxWorks there is a larger base of talent available, so new innovations can be developed and deployed sooner.
  • It broadens the number of use cases available. Developers now have the ability to quickly create a broad spectrum of mission-critical applications on top of the RTOS and explore the possibilities of automation, AI, ML, and much more. For example, developers can test simple AI-style algorithms written in Python and using libraries such as NumPy and Pandas that have been tested on VxWorks on an actual edge device. Rather than using a traditional embedded software language, such as C, Python can help quickly add already available AI algorithms that can help make decisions about which data to send to the cloud—a simpler and more flexible option than trying to run Linux in real-time mode or running them side-by-side in a virtualized mode.
  • It can help developers enter the work of safe software for embedded systems. Rust’s safety features make it an attractive option for embedded programming. Rust uses a system of ownership and borrowing to ensure that memory is managed safely, preventing common errors such as null pointer dereferences, buffer overflows, and data races. Rust’s strong type system and compile-time checks make it easier to write reliable code. It’s also designed to interoperate with tradition embedded software programming languages such as C and C++.

Equally important, support for these languages adds to the value of other modernization features now available in VxWorks. To cite just two examples:

  • Support for OCI-compliant containers allows developers to access an open, standards-based container engine, so they can package and deploy all applications using IT-like tools and methods. Then developers can use standard container tools to push applications to popular container registries (such as Docker Hub, Amazon ECR, or Harbor) and pull them from deployed VxWorks-based devices to run them. Containers make it easier to modularize and scale today’s ever-larger software footprints—which means businesses can accelerate development and deployment of new capabilities without compromising determinism and performance.  
  • A DevOps-ready environment. Today’s VxWorks is an integral part of Wind River Studio and fully supports the trend toward an automated, pipeline approach to iterating software while maintaining quality. VxWorks development can be done in a cloud environment, and VxWorks provides the modern tooling and the traceability required to show, track, and automate the management of complex relationships—from requirements to test results—accelerating the journey to everything from IT/OT consolidation to modernized DevOps capabilities.

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The modernization of VxWorks is an ongoing initiative at Wind River, and customers can expect a steady flow of additional features and enhancements that align with their digital transformation journeys. From accelerating the move to cloud-based development environments, to automating more and more of the development process, to increasing collaboration among remote and geographically dispersed development teams, we will continue to innovate. Just like you.

In short, the modernization of VxWorks affirms our commitment to delivering what our customers want most: the ability to accelerate innovation without sacrificing security, safety, reliability, and certifiability. However you define digital transformation, wherever you are on your path to modern DevOps, speed is of the essence. Contact us and we’ll help you hit the accelerator.

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Russ Kennedy • 04th July 2023

Enterprise data has been closely linked with hardware for numerous years, but an exciting transformation is underway as the era of the hardware businesses is gone. With advanced data services available through the cloud, organisations can forego investing in hardware and abandon infrastructure management in favour of data management.