Still very much alive

Java is the go to language for IoT applications

Gabriela Motroc
Smart city image via Shutterstock

The Eclipse Foundation released an IoT developer survey earlier this year in which it showed that five percent or more of the respondents mentioned more than 14 programming languages. Although the IoT universe appears to be polyglot, there is one language which topped the Eclipse survey and that is Java.

Ian Skerrett, VP of Marketing and Ecosystem at Eclipse Foundation, wrote in a blog post announcing the results of the second annual IoT Developer Survey that Java, C, JavaScript and Python were the most popular among IoT developers.

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Skerrett added that “there is some bias in the results towards Java” because some people question its use in IoT, but concluded that the results are “not surprising.”

Embedded apps go hand in hand with Java

According to a report by Oracle, one of Java’s biggest perks is the robustness of of application code. While C uses explicit pointers to reference memory, all object references in Java are implicit pointers which cannot be manipulated by application code. This automatically rules out potential issues such as memory access violations that can inevitably cause an application to stop all of a sudden.

While migrating applications written in C to a new platform could be both costly and time consuming, as well as error prone, another advantage of Java is that it runs anywhere after it’s been written once. If the APIs used by the application remain unchanged, it is just a matter of redeploying the existing class or JAR files. A simple recompile will be enough if you want to move to a newer version of Java.

Here are the top 10 reasons for using Java in embedded apps.

Rick Delgado, a freelance technology writer wrote in an article earlier this year that even though “many are familiar with Java, that doesn’t make it any less valuable for IoT development. Java is an object-oriented language with a particular strength in being portable, something very handy with the IoT. Like C and C++, Java is also flexible enough to be used in various different projects.” Delgado revealed that IoT developers choose C because it is versatile and Python when it comes to readability.

Other skills IoT developers need

IoT developers also need technical and personal skills. According to Delgado, big data is “the thing that fuels the IoT. Every item collects data, which can be used for analysis. Developers will need to know how best to utilize that data and how to gain the needed insights from complex information sets. Knowledge of analytics tools will also be a major benefit in getting a proper handle on the massive amounts of data that will be used.”

IoT development will face good times and rough times. The developer able to push through the most stubborn challenges is the one who will be the most successful. Showing persistence in the face of adversity without getting frustrated is a must as the growth of the IoT barrels straight ahead.

Steve Jobs said nine years ago that “Nobody uses Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain.” If we look at the numbers, we will see that Java is still very much alive.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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