Java has been the leading programming language for many years and shows no signs of slowing down. Because of its superior security, it is preferred for bespoke software development. Even after dominating for over 25 years, ranking first in 2020 and fifth in 2023, many individuals are skeptical about its continued relevance.
This might be due to the emergence of next-generation technologies and the hype of cloud-native platforms.
For example, when demand for mobile apps increased and cloud-native became the talk of the town, this notion gained popularity. And it happened again when the industry and development community were excessively excited about AI-ML.
Even after navigating through various changes in industry trends and styles of application development, Java today is still thriving. That is the reason clients tend to hire Java developers for their large-scale projects.
Take a look at the graph below, which depicts the most popular frameworks in 2023, according to a CodingNomads poll.
Factors that ensure Java’s continued dominance
The following are some of the factors that keep Java at the top.
#1 The use case for Java
If you look at a team provided with developing medium to big apps, you'll see a majority of programmers in the team have backend Java abilities. NodeJS is a strong rival in this arena, although Java retains the advantage due to one or more of the factors listed below.
#2 Java has a Vast ecosystem.
The ecosystem around a language plays a major role in what a language can deliver. Java has decades of a head start as compared to other languages in this case. There are major industry forums and corporate players who are deeply invested in making the Java ecosystem stronger. For example, Apache Foundation, and Spring ecosystem backed by VMWare to name a few.
1. Libraries and frameworks: Java has a vast collection of libraries and frameworks that are actively maintained by the community. These libraries and frameworks help developers to build applications more efficiently and with less code. Examples of popular Java frameworks include Spring, Hibernate, and Quarkus.
2. Platforms: Using Java, developers can build applications for a variety of platforms, including web applications, mobile applications, enterprise applications, and desktop applications. This means that Java developers can build a wide range of applications using the same language.
3. Tools Java has a wide range of tools for development, debugging, and testing. For example, Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA are popular integrated development environments (IDEs) for Java development. JUnit is a popular testing framework for Java, and tools like Maven and Gradle are used for building and managing Java projects.
4. Community: Java has a large and active community of developers who contribute to the language, tools, and libraries. This means that developers can get help, share their knowledge, and collaborate on projects more easily.
5. Enterprise support: For enterprises that require enterprise support for mission-critical applications, there are various service providers that can provide support and timely delivery of security fixes. Companies such as IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat, for example, provide enterprise support for Java and related technologies.
Overall, the vast ecosystem of Java makes it a versatile and powerful language for building a wide range of applications. The large community and enterprise support also ensure that Java will continue to be a relevant and widely used language for years to come.
#3 Java is both efficient and widely used.
Java is one of the most efficient programming languages in the world today (keeping the use case in mind). It is extensively used in diverse industry verticals due to its flawless features and breakless security.
It may surprise you to find that Java was the top programming platform in 2020 and fifth in 2023 and consumes fewer resources to accomplish tasks compared to other languages.
#4 Java has first-class support to build cloud-native applications
In recent years, cloud computing has become increasingly popular for businesses looking to build and deploy their applications using cloud infrastructure (on-prem or public). Cloud-native development involves building applications that are specifically designed to run on cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
Java has long been a popular language for building enterprise applications that were monolithic, and it has now become a popular choice for building cloud-native applications that use microservice architecture. One of the main reasons for this is the first-class support that Java provides for cloud-native development and microservices.
Using Java, developers can quickly build REST-based microservices using tools like Spring-boot and Spring Cloud from Spring Framework (supported by VMWare) or the tools like Weld (supported by RedHat).
One of the biggest complaints from the cloud-native community against Java has been the size of the bare minimum libraries that are required to run Java was too big. Java community and ecosystem have addressed that problem by offering cloud-native alternatives like Quarkus and GraalVM
#5 Rapid innovation and support from major tech companies
Java continues to evolve and innovate rapidly with major corporations like Oracle, and Amazon having their distributions while companies like Microsoft, Google, and Redhat support the adoption via Adoptium . As a result, Java as a platform has seen more frequent releases with each release adding features that help Java tackle new-age problems with reliability. Some of the major innovations like Project loom and Project Valhalla along with project amber should be looked at.
Whether you are a developer who wants to make your career future-proof or a business that wants to invest in technology that will give maximum ROI for a long time, Java is the right bet.
What to expect from Java in the Future?
Java, a powerful and versatile programming language, is consistently evolving with remarkable upgrades. It is capable of adapting to the constantly changing demands of customers in their bespoke software development. Therefore, it is sensible to expect great things from Java in the future.
Six crucial updates to expect from Java:
- Continued Language Evolution
- Enhanced Performance
- Emphasis on Modularity
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Integration with Cloud and Microservices
- Continued Community Support
Let’s explore these key aspects in detail:
1. Continued Language Evolution
Java has a history of adapting to emerging trends and technologies, and this trend will persist in the future.
With each new version release, Java introduces language enhancements and features that make development more productive and efficient.
We can expect Java to keep up with modern programming paradigms and incorporate concepts from functional programming, reactive programming, and more.
2. Enhanced Performance
Java has always been renowned for its robustness and reliability. In the future, we can expect further optimizations and improvements in performance.
With remarkable hardware advancements and the development of JVM (Java Virtual Machine), we can predict smaller memory footprints, faster execution times, and increased overall efficiency.
3. Emphasis on Modularity
Java 9 introduced JPMS (Java Platform Module System) allowing developers to create modular and scalable applications.
This modularity trend is expected to continue in the future, with apps being built as a collection of independent and interoperable modules.
Some of the benefits that Modular Java applications offer are:
- Easier testing
- Improved maintainability
- Faster development
4. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Java has tremendous support for innovative technologies such as AI/ML that help to build AI-based applications.
Java libraries like DL4J and Deeplearning4j offer tools that help to build machine learning models with flawless deployment.
Thus, Java is likely to see more developments in AI-related frameworks, libraries, and integration with popular AI platforms.
5. Integration with Cloud and Microservices
As cloud computing and microservices architecture gain traction, Java will remain a key participant in this field.
Spring Boot and Jakarta EE are two important examples of frameworks that provide great support for cloud-native and microservices-based app development.
As a result, it is highly anticipated that advancements in cloud-based development architecture would make cloud deployment perfect and easier.
6. Continued Community Support
One of the greatest strengths of Java is its vibrant and supportive community. Java user groups, online forums, and open-source initiatives contribute to the language's growth and adoption.
In the future, we can expect the community to continue thriving, sharing knowledge, developing new tools and frameworks, and providing support for Java developers worldwide.
To summarize, Java's future is bright and exciting. We should expect modular development, greater performance, continuing language evolution, enhanced cloud and microservices support, AI technology integration, and a strong community.
This blog has gone through the essential characteristics of Java that demonstrate its future relevance. It has also shown what to anticipate from Java in the future. I hope it has helped you in learning critical information regarding Java and its significance.