Great expectations

Majority of devs poised to adopt Java 8, survey reveals

Lucy Carey

65% of Java users questioned by Typesafe are planning to upgrade to new release in next two years, and 73% are excited to get on board with Project Lambda.

With Java 8 loaded in the barrel for release, expect the hype to reach fever pitch levels in the next two weeks. But what do the folks on the ground actually think? If a study published by Scala proponents Typesafe yesterday is anything to by, the majority of Java devs are certainly ready to get stuck in, with 65% of respondents stating that they had plans to migrate to update to the new release within the next 24 months. A further 30% of these are intending to put it into use within the next six months.

The bulk of people (73%) who responded to the survey are currently working with Java 7. However, reflecting the continued legacy system penetration of Java 6, 22% still do work with this version of the platform – even without Oracle’s active support. Of these ‘retro’ users, 44% are planning to “leapfrog” over to Java 8 in due course.

Lambdas were always the all-singing, all-dancing feature of Java 8, and it’s this feature, along with virtual extension methods, that a huge 83% of users are most excited about. Concurrency updates and the new Date and Time API were also popular, garnering 16% and 15% votes respectively.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this is a Typesafe survey – so the chances are that many of the developers questioned have at least a passing familiarity with Scala. As the report points out, “Lambdas are a key enabler of Reactive applications and will bring a new collections library that will look very familiar to Scala developers.”

Results may thus be a little biased on the feature front, though are nonetheless an indicator of how a sizable slice of the community feels about the upcoming lambda injection. Interestingly, 48% of people believe that the new Scala-flavoured addition to Java 8 “validates Scala’s language design on the JVM and will positively reinforce the adoption of Scala,” rather than stealing away potential users.

Although there was some consternation when Oracle revealed that it was only focusing on major bugs in Java 8 a few months ago, it seems that overall the community is happy with how things are ticking along with the efforts to secure the platform – cited as one of the main reasons for delaying delivery of the big eight last year. Out of the 2,800 developers from around the world who participated in the survey, 59% believe that Larry Ellison and his merry band have done “a good job of getting Java security on the right path.”

Oracle also continues to rule hearts and minds on the JVM front, topping the charts with a colossal 98% of users employing it. Android’s Dalvic is continuing to gain traction, with 20% of devs citing usage – something Typesafe suggests could have implications for how Google chooses to support Java 8. Regardless of how this plays out, this buoyant attitude to adoption means that there will be plenty of feedback for Oracle to be going on with over the next few months.

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