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The Future of Java

The future of Java continues to be strong in the near-term.

· Java Zone

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To gather insights on the state of the Java ecosystem today for DZone's Java Ecosystem research guide to be published in September, we spoke with 15 executives who are familiar with the Java ecosystem.

Here’s who we talked to:

Joel Depernet, E.V.P. Global Research and Development, Axway | Sacha Labourey, CEO and Founder, CloudBees | Rick Reich, CEO, Development Heroes | Asad Ali, Principal Software Developer and Lisa Hamaker, Marketing Manager, Dynatrace |  David Park, V.P. of Products, HackerRank |  Charles Kendrick, Founder and CTO, Isomorphic Software | Wayne Citrin, CTO, JNBridge | Raymond Augé, Senior Software Architect, Liferay | Laura Kassovic, Founder, MbientLab | Cameron Wilby, Co-Founder, Origin Code Academy | James Faulkner, Technology Evangelist, Red Hat | Paul Trowe, CEO, Replay Games | Calvin French-Owen, CTO and Co-Founder, Segment

We asked our respondents, "What's the future of Java from your perspective?" Here's what they told us:

  • It is still very well used and we’re beginning to see new stacks coming on the frontend like Node but leaving Java to handle the intense business applications. Java’s not going anywhere soon.
  • AR and VR are it for the next 10 years. It’s hard to see past Moore’s Law. We haven’t begun to tap into the possibilities of VR. It will open our minds more giving us the ability to see things we never thought possible.
  • It will come from unexpected places. Microservices and lightweight containers. Modularizing Java. Java has a great card to play making Java and JavaScript more collaborative, dynamic, and adaptive.
  • It’s very mature and will remain the language of choice for at least the next five years. It’s less about supporting the language for the backend ecosystems. The most revolutionary changes are the amount of data we’re putting through the APIs. We can do more than ever before. Java-based back ends can handle the data and scale. The object-oriented Java skillset helps. Java will always be the backend platform.
  • It will stick around with the legacy apps being written. It is the software language for enterprises because they can save time, money and resources. Few greenfield projects will be developed in Java outside the enterprise. Java will be where Cobalt is today in 10 to 20 years.
  • Solid. Central place for statically compiled language. Improves productivity versus C++. Reduces errors at compilation time. JREs available for many platforms.
  • Slow loss of relevance over time, until it is ultimately seen as a specialized skill needed only by a few, similar to the way that mainframe languages are currently seen. As more and more infrastructure moves to the cloud or to cloud-like provisioning within an enterprise, pre-defined services, such as REST access to a simple database (e.g. Firebase), are dramatically less expensive and simpler to work with than services that allow hosting of arbitrary code (AWS, Google App Engine). Developers are rightly taking advantage of these low-cost, simple services whenever they can. This means there will be fewer developers using Java in the areas where Java has core strengths. For now, Java is being used in areas where it is relatively weak (e.g. UI construction in Android and in GWT, and service orchestration) simply because it has such an enormous ecosystem. The long-term trajectory of Java will be phased out in favor of more appropriate languages and tools. This will take a long time, and happen in bursts. The current resurgence of interest in JavaScript as a language for web UI is one such burst.
  • With other languages like Node JS and Python rising in popularity, the future of Java seems to lay with Android as it is still the primary language for Android development. Java used to be a popular introductory language at schools but has been recently bumped out by Python.
  • Big data. All languages are heading toward running just the code and function you need. Docker provides an abstraction to run containers on top. The last layer becoming popular is server less architecture. Amazon Lambda only runs certain functions when an action takes place. You simply solve the problem by writing code and sharing it with a small team of Amazon engineers who will run it for you.
  • It’s very bright given the community and ecosystem. Significant corporate sponsors and the quality of the community add too much value and quality technology for it to diminish. Given that Java continues to have proper governance and community, I see it having a long life.
  • It will remain viable because it’s a huge asset in many enterprises – including ours. While there’s a lot of new technology available, it’s easy to find people who know Java. The main risk is microservices. The language can be different for each microservice. This wasn’t much of an issue two years ago but I can see it moving us from 99% Java, to 90% to 70% to 50% over time. We’re using more JavaScript and Node JS and some Go with Docker.
  • After being in decline for a while we see it trending up with the adoption of Java 8 by the enterprise. It will remain the predominant language in coding for quite a while. It’s the number one language that companies choose.
  • It’ll be around for the next 10 to 15 years. It’s easy to learn and is evolving to be more developer friendly.

What's the future of Java from your perspective?

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