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Should Java be More High Level or Low Level?

01.11.2013
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Java 8 is bringing much anticipated features such as Lambda expressions, Type Annotations and Virtual Extensions.

While this functionality is a) valuable, b) playing catch up with cooler languages, are these richer, higher level functionality the only area Java should be focused.

What are the most widely used languages

There are many ways to assess which are the most widely used languages. One index which attempts to consider a wide variety of sources is the Tiobe Index. The positions and ratings are taken from Jan 2013.

Position Programming Language Ratings Age Cooler Level
1 C 17.9% older no lower (much)
2 Java 17.4% same no same
3 Objective-C 10.3% older no lower
4 C++ 9.1% older no lower
5 C# 6.2% newer yes lower (slightly)
6 PHP 5.5% older yes higher
7 (Visual) Basic 4.7% older no same?
8 Python 4.2% older no higher
9 Perl 2.3% older no higher
10 JavaScript 2.0% same no higher
11 Ruby 1.8% older yes higher
12 Visual Basic .NET 1.0% newer no higher
13 Lisp 1.0% older no higher
14 Pascal 0.9% older no same
15 Delphi/Object Pascal 0.9% older no higher
16 Ada 0.7% older no same?
17 MATLAB 0.6% older no higher
18 Lua 0.6% older yes higher
19 Assembly 0.6% older no lower (much)
20 Bash 0.6% older no higher

The "Age" is based on the initial release date, the "cooler" is purely subjective on my part, and the "Level" column is whether the language supports lower level functionality or is it designed to be more abstract/higher level.

What I take from this list that there are many higher level languages, but the really popular ones support lower level constructs. e.g. Java is the only one in the top 5 not to support structs directly. (It has an optimisation which can work aorund this to a small degree)

Conclusion

While Java should be looking to add higher level functionality, it should also consider the lower level features languages like the *C* languages support as these are likely to become more popular as there will be more mobile and embedded devices in the future.
Published at DZone with permission of Peter Lawrey, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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