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What’s cool in Java these days?

Lucy Carey
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ZeroTurnaround report tallying the leading tools and technologies for the platform in 2014 indicates Java 8 a priority for majority, and rise of JVM languages in enterprise.

The ZeroTurnaround crew has been producing reams of Java developer oriented data for half a decade now, charting everything from app restart times to delivery predictability. For their fifth anniversary edition, the team once again turn their gaze to a wider look at the 2014 Java tools and technology landscape, with some interesting results (full results available here if you’d like to peruse in depth).

Taking their results from a pool of precisely 2164 people (the majority of them, shockingly, “software developers, working on web-based applications, using Android phones and Windows”), ZeroTurnaround discovered that the most frequently used tool appeared to be JUnit, with 82.5% of those surveyed utilizing it in their work.

Out of the 78.5% of devs who use Continuous Integration tools (up over 10% from last year, reflecting overall industry trends), 70% were relying on faithful butler Jenkins. In the world of Version Control Systems, Git comes out on top with 69% – often used in tandem with Subervision (57%).  IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate topped out at 49% as the IDE devs would most like to use, and with 58% of votes, Gradle won out as the tool people want to better understand.

The full leaderboard is as follows:

Source: ZeroTurnaround Java Tools & Technologies Landscape for 2014

On the JVM language front, Scala, which has enjoyed a good deal of publicity in the wake of lambda-packed Java 8’s release,  continues to dominate.  47% said they would be interested in learning more about the language. A further 31% are interested in fellow JVM enterprise stalwart Groovy, and 12% in Clojure, though few expressed any inclination towards outliers Kotlin, Xtend or Ceylon.

On the enterprise side, the bulk of those questioned are relying on the two latest Java EE releases – 6 and 7 – at 49% and 35% respectively. The relatively high numbers of users are something that can be attributed to the fact that, as Martin Verburg states, “Java EE 6 was a good solid release that gave parity with the Spring suite, I’d expect to see many enterprises sticking with it unless they really want standardized web socket & JSON support.”

Moreover, the fast uptake of the latest versions of both Java EE and Java SE can be attributed to the health of Java, and as Java EE evangelist and Java champion Markus Eisele notes, “clearly expresses how important developer productivity and ease of use are today.”

Whilst the industry chatter around NoSQL drowns out dialogue around SQL, in reality, 53% of respondents use only SQL. 39% find optimal performance flitting between the two, and a mere 4% use NoSQL exclusively.

Overall, over a third of respondents (35%) reported that they or their companies would be making Java 8 a major priority over the next two years – less than the numbers reported by a pre-J8 release survey by Scala masters Typesafe, but sizable figures nonetheless.

Continuous Delivery also ranks high at 18% and with the encroachment of JVM languages in the enterprise, 15% are putting non-Java programming at the top of the agenda. With a nod to the future, 5% are concentrating on the Internet of Things, and 7% on development in the cloud, though obviously it’s very early days on these fronts. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how interest in both develops in  the next 12 months.


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