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Measuring Up Java Usage

duke-measure

Today saw the publication of “the largest survey ever of Java developers”, run by Simon Maple of Snyk and Andrew Binstock, Editor of the Java Magazine.

As the first of a four-part series this set of results covers which JDK the 10,200 respondents make use of for their main projects.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority are using the JDK binary provided by Oracle. Since the licensing of the Oracle JDK binary only changed with the release of JDK 11 (which hadn’t been released when the survey was conducted), access to the JDK has been free and easy via the java.oracle.com website. I would expect that if this survey is run again in a year or two, that the results will be very different. As people migrate their applications to newer releases, we will undoubtedly see a shift away to builds of the OpenJDK.

Certainly, if we look at the results of the question about how people plan to respond to the changes to the Java release cycle, we can see that the majority of people have not made a decision about what approach they will take. Over half (58%) either haven’t made a decision or will decide on a case-by-case basis (meaning they also haven’t made a decision yet). A third of those surveyed are planning to stay on the long-term support (LTS) releases. This is logical; the decision that they will still need to make is where to get their LTS binaries? At Azul, we are offering both free Zulu Community builds of these OpenJDK releases as well as commercially supported Zulu Enterprise binaries. Our community edition does not come with any commitment to when updates will be made available. For users who need a defined service-level Zulu Enterprise will get backported security patches and bug fixes straight after their release from Oracle.

The last question about the choice of language also had interesting results. It isn’t any form of surprise that 90% of developers are using Java. What was more curious was that Clojure claimed the second spot with 3%. My prediction for this would have been Kotlin taking second place and Scala also ahead of Clojure, but there you go.

I look forward to the next installments of this survey covering tools, platforms and applications, as well as processes. I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that the most popular IDE will be IntelliJ. I’m trying to make the switch, but my muscle memory keeps pulling me back to NetBeans.

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