I remember when I first started learning to code. I was in high school and my friend recommended Java as a great language to start with. Fast forward 20 years, is Java going away?
Java is still going strong. It’s one of the most popular programming languages in the world. However, some changes are happening in the world of Java that developers need to be aware of.
For those who are curious, there is no indication that it’s happening anytime soon. In fact, Java remains one of the most popular programming languages in the world according to the TIOBE Index.
While there is always the possibility that a new language could come along and dethrone Java, it seems unlikely shortly.
What Is Java?
Since 1991, the Java language has been evolving. Today, there are 17 versions of this robust and object-oriented technology.
The most recent version of Java, version 15, was released in 2020.
Because it has long-term support, companies can rely on using Java for years.
Famous companies such as Twitter and Spotify still use this language even though they have other options.
The demand for software developers is expected to grow by 28.7 million by 2024. And 63.1% of coders will continue to use Java, as well as other languages like Python, CSS, and SQL.
Many tech giants still use Java such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
So, no, Java will not disappear soon.
Who Invented Java?
Mike Sheridan, James Gosling, and Patrick Naughton are the inventors of Java. Their primary goal was to design a programming language that would be simple to use, secure, and versatile enough to run on multiple platforms.
Java was created to be used for interactive television programming; however, the digital cables at the time were not able to support such technology.
In 1996, Sun Microsystems officially released Java 1.0 with the core principle Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA). In 2009, it was acquired by Oracle.
Sun Microsystems has released many versions of Java since it was first created, each with different configurations to suit various platforms.
Is it still relevant?
Since its inception, the programming language Java has constantly been updated to stay current.
According to the 2019 report of JetBrains, Java remains the most popular programming language for software developers.
But it may no longer hold that position for long.
While still popular, other languages such as Python may soon overtake it.
The rise of the Android-friendly programming language, Kotlin, has taken away some of Java’s market share.
Java was created at a time when the internet was just starting to become widely used. This made it the perfect language for developing network applications. Python is now in a similar position with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning. These technologies are driving the need for more sophisticated algorithms and data processing which Python is well suited for.
When Sun Microsystems created their programming language, they designed it specifically for networking and communication. Today, it is one of the most popular languages in the world and is used by millions.
Java also came at a time when multiprocessor systems were becoming popular and it was one of the first programming languages to take advantage of those advancements without the developer having to do much more work.
In addition to those features, Java also had big backing in the industry including Sun Microsystems, IBM, and Oracle.
Developers have been choosing to use Java for years because it is a very successful programming language.
The reason why the programming language, Java, has remained so popular is that it still meets the need of working with multiple networks and is open-source.
Open source is where it’s at if you want to stay current in the tech world. A lot of the most exciting developments are happening in open source projects.
So it ticks all the technical boxes and meets all the requirements.
While Java was well suited to its early environments, it hasn’t been as relevant as other languages as time has gone on.
While Java does do a lot of cool, dynamic things, those aren’t needed in technologies like microservice and serverless, where developers simply start over from scratch when they encounter issues.
When they encounter a bug, many programmers just burn everything to the ground and redeploy a new container with the latest version.
So all of those features that allowed Java to “dynamically” do different things are no longer necessary.
What makes using Java so great is all of the great features it has. It’s designed to be efficient and reliable, so it’s perfect for large, complex applications.
Back in the day, you could easily install and run several apps or programs on a single machine. Nowadays, however, that is no longer the case.
Today, you’re only given a small amount of time on a virtual server, or sometimes even just a portion of one. This means any feature that requires a lot of resources or is very complex offers very little benefit.
So, looking at functions-as-a-service, you don’t see a lot of mention of Java.
But Java isn’t going anywhere yet. The programming language will still likely experience growth for years to come.
Today, many projects allow the use of java in different environments, such as Oracle’s Graalvm, which allows programs to interoperate in a common runtime. Also, Red Hat has a Kubernetes native framework for Java.
Java itself is going to evolve to support these technologies. There may be some changes coming to Java that could affect everything from the JVM to the language itself.
Any new updates in the Java Virtual Machine that improve its integration with containerization platforms like Docker, and help with instrumentation of running applications within a Kubernetes cluster will be very helpful.
Oracle is constantly working on new projects to help make Java more innovative.
Oracle is currently focusing on several projects to help innovate Java, including Valhalla (value types), Panama (updating form function), Loom (scaling), Amber (simplifying language), and Metropolis (JVM in Java).
“We have a biannual feature update, but the more difficult issues we tackle cannot be solved in only half a year,” says George Saab, VP of Engineering for Java SE at Oracle.
So, what these projects are about is being able to tackle these longer-term problems.
Breaking down goals into small steps and outputs is highly recommended for project success.
Why Java Won’t Disappear in the Future
Java has a virtual machine that other programming languages such as Kotlin and Scala use. Furthermore, the same code that is written to function on Linux can also work on other operating systems such as Windows.
Among many reasons that Java will not fade anytime soon are:
- Reactive programming is best suited for creating live-streaming applications.
- The Java programming language is used in web development, mobile app development, big data analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain technology.
- Developing function-as-a-service (FaaS) and serverless applications is possible, though it requires developers to have a solid knowledge of various programming languages.
- The evolution of technology has allowed for faster updates and versions of software like Java. For instance, Java 15 was released 6 months after Java 14. In the previous versions like Java 8-13, it took up to 5-6 years.
- Some of the world’s most successful companies are still using Java such as Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix.
Java is a popular programming language that has been around for 20 years. While some changes are happening in the world of Java, it is still a strong language and is not going away anytime soon.