JVM Ecosystem Report Reveals the State of Java
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Java may not make headline news very often, but it is still the language that underpins most of today's commerce and more. The largest survey ever of Java developers, with data  from more than 10,200 respondents, gives an interesting snapshot of the JVM landscape.


The survey was a collaboration between the open source security platform, Snyk, and Java Magazine, a bimonthly publication from Oracle Corp. Its availability was communicated, via social media to the Java community at large; to Java User Groups around the world, including the Virtual JUG, and to subscribers of Java Magazine. As an inducement to complete the survey, the sponsors promised a contribution to Devoxx4Kids, an organization that o introduce teenagers to programming, robotics and engineering in a fun way.

The initial question for this survey was:

Which Java vendor's JDK do you use in production for your main applications?


It comes as no surprise that the Oracle JDK dominates with 70%, with the Open JDK having a further 21%. The Android SDK only has 2%, which suggests that the survey didn't reach Android developers, which is fair enough. 

The results showed that in terms of SE versions Java 8 is the most widely used with a 79% share. Java 7 came second in popularity (9%). Only 4% of respondents had adopted Java 9, with another 4% having moved to Java 10. The next question was designed to probe developers' views on Java's new release cycle and revealed a marked preference for staying with the long-term support releases:


The report explains:

While the Java 9 release brought with it some major architectural changes, it also introduced a new release cadence in which Java SE versions ship every six months. Every two to three years, a Long Term Support (LTS) release offers longer-term support, such as security updates, and so forth. Note that Java 9 is not an LTS release. This question asks how development teams will respond to this new release cadence. The responses were varied, suggesting there is still some uncertainty about how to proceed. In fact, almost 1 in 3 developers don't yet know how they will respond to the new release cycle.

With regard to Java EE the most frequent answer (38%) was that respondents didn't use it. The most popular among those using enterprise Java was Java EE 7, with the latest, Java EE 8 not far behind:


The survey included the question:

What is the main JVM language you use for your main application?

Nine out of ten respondents named Java itself with Clojure having the biggest share of the alternatives, with Kotlin next in popularity.


Moving on to tools there were obvious favourites in many areas. Maven, ,for example, was the most popular build tool, with Gradle and Ant in second and third place:


For CI (Continuous Integration) Jenkins was way out ahead of the pack with 57%. None accounted for 21% leaving others with less than 5% share each:


Git was the clear winner for SCM (Source Code Management) with 74% and Subversion accounted for a further 16%. 
Note that 3% don't use SCM, to which the  report comments:

Sometimes, there are no words.

With regard to code repository's GitHub and Bitbucket tie on 25% with GitLab having 20%. There's a substantial "None" response here.


The report notes:

Of the 25% share that GitHub has, just over half (52%) of those respondents are using the public version, whereas the remainder (48%) are using the private GitHub Enterprise on-premises offering.

All respondents use an IDE with IntelliJ being the most popular and Eclipse having a strong showing, with Apache NetBeans still retaining over 10% of the market, which is as many users as the IntelliJ Community Edition (the free version). So overall only a third use a Paid IDE. 


The survey has more interesting findings relating to cloud platform, the non-JVM languages, web frameworks and databases used and the developers themselves. Look out for more in future articles;

More Information

JVM Ecosystem Report 2018 (pdf)

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Microsoft Buys GitHub - Get Ready For a Bigger Devil 

Git and GitHub top in popularity stakes

The Ever Expanding GitHub Octoverse 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 October 2018 )