For those stalwarts who’ve been with Java for the long haul, you’ll be well versed in Java FUD. Java is dead, Java is not dead, but probably dying, developing Java is like going for a family picnic in Mordor, etc. But, thanks to Java 8, and the radical new features it brought to the language, there’s a swell of goodwill – or at least interest – in the platform. The most recent TIOBE Index rankings show a rise in popularity of 4.29% for Java.
Already perched at the top of the table, these latest findings serve to confirm that the recent spike of interest in Java is no flash in the pan. Moreover, the difference in popularity between Java and number two on the table – C – is the highest it’s been since 2008. Following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, the language took a downward turn on the index as core team members packed their backs and set off for more certain pastures. Whilst there was a long wait for Java 8 and the long awaited functional language changes it wrought, it seems the hard work has paid off.
As the TIOBE compilers write, thanks to Java’s lambdas, it’s now possible to write Java programs in a functional and concise way. Furthermore, TIOBE reckon that Java is scooping up the market share that Objective-C is shedding – all the more surprising when you consider that these developers were supposed to be prime pickings for Apple fledgling Swift.
Now, at this juncture, I’m obliged to summarily obliged to issue the following disclaimer (last time I mentioned TIOBE and neglected to do this, this happened): TIOBE, which bases its popularity rankings on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors, gleaning data from leading search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu, has often come criticised for its methodologies. However, when we drew comparisons with this summer’s RedMonk Programming Language Rankings and Google Trend’s based PYPL Index, which places Java at number 2 and number 1 respectively, it’s clear that the language is in rude health.
It’s not just Oracle’s commitment to evolving Java that’s continuing to hold interest in the platform steady. There’s also the matter of the huge ecosystem around it – especially Android.
In an interview with Infoworld around the resurgence of interest in the platform, Forrester Research Analyst Jeffrey Hammond commented on these dual factors; “Oracle moving Java forward again is reassuring larges companies and helping drive demand as they extend the infrastructure tier of existing applications to support new mobile apps and responsive web sites.” On the front end, he notes, the enormous Android market share in mobile and tablets is also paying dividends.