Much ado about nothing?

Java is on a slippery slope, Tiobe index shows

Gabriela Motroc

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If Java is dying, it’s safe to say that death becomes it. Java has died and resurrected more times than we can count and it’s still here. But, according to the latest Tiobe index, this programming language is “in a heavy downward trend since the beginning of 2016.”

The saying “one man’s misfortune is another man’s fortune” has never been more true. It’s no news that Java has been on a slippery slope (if you look at the Tiobe index) since early 2016 but its loss is every other language’s gain. According to the Tiobe index, “a rating of 0.6 percent was sufficient to reach the top 20 in 2012. Nowadays this would put you at position 33.” Therefore, it’s safe to say that only the creme de la creme can enter the top 10.

Although Java has lost over six percent if compared to the May 2016 index, it remains No.1 with a rating of 14.639 percent. To make matters worse for its fellow finalists, the runner-up (in this case C) has gathered only 7.002 percent; not to mention that Swift, which cracked the top ten programming languages list last month and now occupies the 13th position, has a rating of 2.274 percent. Developers’ sweetheart Go has a rating of 2.080 percent but it managed to gain almost two percent — while Swift gained 0.68 percent.

TIOBE Index for May 2017

Java lost an important fan last month

Last month, JAXenter reported that Stanford’s infamous introductory computer science course has just dropped Java in favor of JavaScript. The Stanford Daily quoted Eric Roberts, emeritus professor of computer science and the initial creator of the CS 106 courses, as saying that Java is “showing its age”. Although this programming language has been the guest of honor for over 15 years, Roberts believes that JavaScript is the foremost programming language of the internet.

Does this mean Java’s reign at Stanford is history? Not at all — most of the upper-level computer science courses are still in Java.

Java is not going away anytime soon — Here’s why

Dr. Wayne Citrin, CTO and co-founder of JNBridge, LLC recently reminded JAXenter readers that Java is still going strong. If you don’t believe him, perhaps you’ll believe Stack Overflow: their 2017 survey of more than 64,000 developers revealed that, for the fifth year in a row, Java emerged as the third most popular language behind SQL and JavaScript. The survey also found that Java was the fourth most popular language across occupations (web developers, desktop developers, sysadmins/DevOps and data scientists) behind JavaScript, SQL and C#.#1

Reason No. 1

Dr. Citrin claims that one of Java’s advantages is the fact that it “has had time to establish superior tools for writing, maintaining and debugging code. Compare this to the situation for other emerging languages. Unless someone has written an IDE extension for this language that works in an established IDE, the developer is stuck using an assortment of code editors and command-line compilation and build tools.”

 Reason No. 2

What’s more, Java is a bridge to the future. Popular Java-based languages like Groovy, Clojure, Jython and Scala all compile to the same thing that Java compiles to, Dr. Citrin ads.

Developers can try writing code in one of these emerging languages, with the assurance that when they reach their limit (or the language reaches its limit), they can safely fall back to Java.

Java might not be as hip as Go but that doesn’t make it irrelevant. On the contrary: our annual survey shows that Java is still No.1 and languages such as Swift, Go and Kotlin have not managed to make the top 5 list.

Programming languages trends 2017

Scala is the most relevant JVM language right after Java, closely followed by the shooting star Kotlin! Kotlin cozies up in the top 10 before Go, DSLs, Python, Groovy, and Rust — a remarkable result.

If you compare this year’s survey with the one that we did last year, you will see an upswing for Google Go and Mozilla Rust — both languages have gained ground in 2017.

However, one thing is sure: Java will not be dethroned anytime soon.

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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4 years ago

Sorry to say but it is in fact slowing dying I can assure that most of my works in the last 8 years was on maintaining old java spaghetti systems. Not even one was being built from scratch. Its time to move on its dead.

Adam Mudianto
Adam Mudianto
Reply to  José
2 years ago

No way Jose

Chris Marks
Chris Marks
3 years ago

I have never heard such a load of old rubbish. Java dying? Seriously – what ARE you smoking?

Donald J T
Donald J T
2 years ago

Most languages are fads that come and go with a lifespan < 10 years. Those that don't disappear completely end up in niches. But the old heavyweights – Java, C++.. are here to stay.