Java is still No.1

UPDATE: Rod Johnson keynote: “Java has pulled ahead of everything else”| JAX 2016

JAXenter Editorial Team

In his keynote at JAX 2016, Rod Johnson, the CEO of Atomist and the creator of Spring, talked about Java’s supremacy and the rise of microservices and went through everything that happened in technology since 2008 —the last time he attended the JAX conference.

JAX 2016 Keynote Rod Johnson from JAX TV on Vimeo.

Rod Johnson has returned to JAX after eight years of absence. A lot has happened since 2008 and most of his predictions have come true, apart from one: that OSGi was going to be a crucial technology.

“Java is doing just fine”

The creator of the Spring framework agreed with the findings of the TIOBE index, which gauges the popularity of programming languages, and opined that not only is Java no.1 in terms of language popularity, but it has managed to pull ahead of everything else. “The state of Java is really, really healthy,” Johnson gushed.

The reason why Java is doing well, Johnson said, is because it has adapted and now works particularly well with containers. It leads in key elements for microservices such as service discovery and circuit breakers, but there’s also been a productivity breakthrough in Java in the case of Spring Boot.

Java leads in microservices. 

The rise of microservices

Some of the key changes since 2008 were that the browser ceased to be the primary way in which people consumed applications, the pace of change accelerated and developer-oriented services such as GitHub skyrocketed. However, the most significant change remains the rise of microservices because different clients have different needs, which change at different rates. There are at least two reasons why microservices play a big part in the IT scene nowadays: first, because smaller services fit on modern hardware and second, because microservices fit how people want to work —hence Amazon’s two-pizza team rule, namely that a team should be large enough to be fed with two pizzas.

“We live in an era of language fragmentation”

We’re going to see more Java, but also a lot more non Java, the CEO of Atomist announced in his keynote. One of the most important lessons that we learned from Rod Johnson was that modern applications are going to involve more languages. For those who are asking themselves about the next Java, that may as well be Java.

Still, it’s possible that the next Java won’t be as big as Java because the era of dominant languages is gone now. As a result, developers will have to learn at least one other language —other than Java—, especially if it’s Scala or Swift.


Rod Johnson is CEO of Atomist, and a coder, author and investor. He is the creator of the Spring Framework and was co-founder and CEO of SpringSource. Following the acquisition of SpringSource by VMware, he served as SVP, Application Platform at VMware.
He is the author of several popular and influential books on Java and Java EE, including „Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development“ and „J2EE without EJB“ (with Jürgen Hoeller).
He sits on the board of four prominent open source companies: Neo Technology, elastic, Meteor and Hazelcast.
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