State of Developer Ecosystem 2017

JetBrains survey: Java developers prefer Java 8, Spring MVC and Maven

Gabriela Motroc

© Shutterstock / Alexandr III

JetBrains polled over 5,000 developers to identify the State of Developer Ecosystem and now the results are here. The report contains developers’ preference with regard to 11 programming languages, as well as databases and team tools. Read on to find out the key takeaways and to see what Java developers prefer to use these days.

In late 2016 and early 2017, JetBrains polled over 5,000 developers to identify the State of Developer Ecosystem — the results are in!

They collected samples from 20 countries and used population weighting to correct for the fact that countries with similar sample sizes have different actual numbers of developers. “Despite these measures, some bias is likely present as our users may have been more willing on average to complete the survey,” according to the demographics and methodology section.

Key takeaways

JetBrains State of Developer Ecosystem in 2017

Suffice it to say there’s nothing shocking about the key takeaways. Java remains the most popular primary language, JavaScript the most used overall and Go the most promising. All’s right with the world.

JetBrains analyzed developers’ preference with regard to 11 programming languages: Java, C, C++, C#, Python, PHP, Ruby, Swift, Objective-C, Scala and JavaScript.

Let’s see what Java developers prefer to use these days.

Winners: Java 8, Apache Tomcat, Spring MVC and Maven

When asked which versions of Java they regularly use, 79 percent of the respondents had the following answer: Java 8. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. Last month, Georges Saab, chairperson of the OpenJDK governing board and vice president of development for the Java Platform group at Oracle told JAXenter that “JDK 8 was adopted more quickly than any major release in the past.”

Need more proof? According to our own survey, Java 9 is developers’ sweetheart this year, closely followed by Java 6/7/8.

JAXenter annual survey: Programming languages trends

Quick vote: Which Java version do you prefer?


Still not convinced that developers prefer Java 8?, our German sister website launched a quick vote in which they asked readers what Java versions they prefer and guess what: so far, 76 percent of the respondents have expressed a preference for Java 8.

Back to JetBrains’ results: it seems that Java 6 is used by 13 percent of companies with 50+ employees, and only eight percent of smaller ones. Furthermore, 37 percent of Java developers develop mobile apps and 96 percent of Java mobile developers develop for Android.

When asked what application servers they regularly use, 68 percent of the respondents chose Apache Tomcat while 26 percent prefer Jetty. Wildfly occupies the third position, followed by JBoss EAP, Glassfish, Weblogic and WebSphere.

It’s a tie!

Thirteen percent of the Java developers prefer Netty when it comes to using frameworks as an alternative to an application server and the same percentage of respondents goes to Spark Java.

Web frameworks

Spring MVC is the winner when it comes to web frameworks. According to JetBrains’ survey results, 51 percent of the respondents use Spring MVC while 37 percent remain Spring Boot fans. “The more experience in IT industry Java developers have, the more likely they are to use at least one web framework,” according to JetBrains.

It just so happens that Spring MVC is our respondents’ “weapon of choice” too. The JAXenter 2017 survey results show that Spring MVC managed to outshine both Node.js and Play Framework.

JAXenter annual survey: Web frameworks trends

Build systems: 71 percent of developers use Maven and 42 percent prefer Gradle. In short, only 12 percent of Java developers do not use Maven or Gradle.

Battle of the IDEs

Nearly 60 percent of respondents use IntelliJ-based (IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio), 30 percent use Eclipse or Eclipse-based and only six percent of the Java developers prefer NetBeans. Vim is also there with just one percent.

We asked our readers which is the best Java IDE and the answers are slightly different:

  • 36 percent prefer Eclipse
  • 33 percent prefer NetBeans
  • 31 percent prefer IntelliJ


Check out all the results of JetBrains’ Developer Ecosystem Survey 2017 here

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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