The Continuing Relevance of Java
Over the past few weeks there have been a number of posts on DZone debating whether Java is dead or not - it's as if this becomes a seasonal debate. I was quite pleased to see the latest results from the TIOBE Programming Community Index, which gives some credible metrics to those of you who tend to believe that Java is far from dead.
Just as it was this time last year, Java remains on top with over 19% while C remains in second place about 2.5% behind. An interesting trend that I noticed here was that the amount that Java slipped since 2008 is the amount that C has gained. I suppose it's no surprise that both these languages are at the top of the list - they're fundamental to a lot of development over the past 10 years.
I'm not surprised to see Java continuing to do so well on this list, and here I will outline my reasons for it's prominence in the index.
The Virtual Machine
With the possibility to run other languages on top of the JVM itself, developers get the best of both worlds - Scripting, and plain old Java. This ensures that the Java platform continues to have a future in the changing development landscape, with support for popular scripting languages such as JRuby, Jython, Groovy and Scala.
One of the things that has always struck me abotu Java is the helpfulness and sheer size of it's developer community. It's the same for a lot of other languages of course, but it's comforting that when you hit a problem you can just do a search on Google and you'll find the answer to your problems.
A Rich History
Java appeared on the software development scene at the perfect time, and from there it gained a continued momentum. Even though these days there's a shift in focus to other languages and DSLs, the rich history of Java, from Swing to JavaEE to JavaME means that it will always have it's place. There is a huge amount of libraries, frameworks and utilities that mean development is sometimes as easy as putting the pieces together. And because there is so much experience with Java, developers have the choice of extemely useful IDEs such as Netbeans, Eclipse and IntelliJ. The investment that companies and the community at large have made into Java puts it ahead of other language options.
Take all these factors into account and it's no surprise that companies and developers rely so much on Java, and why this isn't likely to change anytime soon.