The world has been discussing Java's future for several years. The first wave concerned its viability. Many programmers believed and still think that Java is dying because of its complexity compared to, for example, Python or other languages with similar features. Another hot topic was the peculiarities of Java ownership by Oracle that limited its free usage for commercial purposes. But before giving in to rumors and discussion, let's consider why do people still use Java? Many factors need to be in focus.
What Is Java Used For Today: Core Business Areas
This language has been at the top of the TIOBE ranking for a long time. But why is Java programming language so popular? It's mature enough to remain relevant. Besides, the digital technologies area is dynamic, and engineers should have come up with dozens of analogs. But the reasons for long-term success are technical and business factors that are closely interrelated.
From a programming standpoint, Java is a highly convenient language. It has a clear logic and harsh hierarchy for code building. Moreover, Java has understandable syntax, cross-platform functionality, and robust security.
From the business side, Oracle has a comprehensive and correct brand development policy. In addition to introducing new features, the company promotes the product, monetizes it, and provides Java education opportunities.
Users like Oracle's transparent activities regarding language development. The company shares work details on Valhalla (exploration of advanced Java Virtual Machine features), Panama (work with non-Java API), Leyden (elimination of complaints causes), and other projects opened for Java improvement purposes.
This comprehensive approach contributes to Java being used by 69% of developers worldwide. But for which particular developments?
Due to its peculiarities, Java is everywhere. Based on the share of digital products in the market (11%) and the permanently growing Java community, IT-professionals actively use this obstacle. Java developments are present in almost all business industries, for example, in the:
automotive area (BMW, Tesla);
designing space rovers and shuttles (NASA);
retail (Walmart, Tesco, Alibaba);
the financial sector (Visa, MasterCard);
analytics and Big Data development;
programming (Oracle, SAP, IBM);
production of household appliances, etc.
Besides, Java is the core language for Android development. Microsoft has declared Kotlin as the official language for these purposes, but the preferred majority of digital products, designed in Java. A possible reason for the language change for these purposes is that developers still use slightly outdated Java versions (JDK 7-9), meanwhile when JDK 15 was released in September 2020. The last version fully supports recent trends in Java programming.
The Latest Trends in Java
One more Java advantage was Oracle's decision to replay updates once every six months. Constantly updating versions with a short time interval allows users to be flexible and accelerate new technologies implementation. It also makes it easier for Oracle engineers that work on ten amendments instead of 1000 ones.
The company also has a customer-oriented approach to such updates. Oracle releases a new Java product every six months. The product contains test features. Programmers use them and give feedback on how they work and whether it is advisable to implement them in a new language version.
Let's consider the Text Blocks feature (JEP 378). It was a preview one in JDK 13 and JDK 14. It is needed to boost user productivity in the way of automatically predictable strings change. Now developers can enjoy its finalized version in the new-released JDK 15. As seen, the preview feature is tested for one year before implementation.
The availability of Java 15 and the incremental innovation that comes with the shift to a six-month release cadence gives the Java community the tools they require to build modern applications that move our world forward.
Georges Saab, Vice President, Software Development,
Java Platform Group at Oracle
2020 is a landmark year for Java, with its 25th Anniversary and 15th Anniversary Edition released. Considering the nature of 14 new features implemented in JDK 15, Oracle is trying to improve the language security and simplify and speed-up coding. Some of these features contribute to the JDK stability. Others make the syntax compact and enable data preview.
Thus, the future of Java is about minimizing all possible inconveniences for programmers, increasing the level of solutions security, and developing the language ecosystem.
Java Programming In 2021: Place for Predictions
The JDK 16 and JDK 17 will be released in March and September 2021. Oracle policy will remain the same:
placing great emphasis on security,
fixing language flaws,
implementing a core group of features that make it easier for a programmer to get the most efficient result.
Educational channels such as Java Magazine, Java Academy, and University will also continue to function. They enable more developers to boost their language skills and join the Java Community.
Either way, Java programming in 2021 will be as widespread as it's now. Besides, the owner company promotes free and commercial language usage. It means that Java will not lose its popularity among both ordinary programmers and big corporations.