Java Choices Explored
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Continuing our broad foray into the Java ecosystem we look at the most popular choices in Java's runtime platforms, framework technologies, IDEs, PaaS providers, databases and, of course, JDKs, with the much debated Oracle JDK versus OpenJDK.

This is the second of three reports comparing results from a trio of recently published survey reports relating to the Java ecosystem. We initially covered "The State of Java in 2019" from e-learning company Baeldung in How is Java Doing? in December 2019, Snyk's "JVM Ecosystem Report 2020" was the topic of Java 8 Remains Dominant earlier this month and we added the JRebel survey to the mix last week in The True State of Java and its Ecosystem. In that article we reported findings relating to which version of the Java language developers were using and their choice of Java Application Server. Now we continue by comparing the survey results relating to the Java Runtime Platform and Java Framework Technologies.



The JRebel survey, which with 4000 respondents is considerably smaller than the other two, shows clearly that for users of this JVM plug-in from Perforce, SpringBoot clearly dominates:


The Snyk report also shows Spring to be dominant:

Exactly 6 out of 10 people depend on the Spring Framework for the production of their application. That is a remarkably high market share for a third-party open source framework.

With 35% of developers reporting that they don't use Java EE, the landscape hasn't changed much since last year (38%). It is important to point out, however, that 4 out of 10 developers are using Enterprise Java indirectly. This does raise some concerns over Java EE's popularity.

Snyk and Baeldung also provide a more hopeful prospect for Java/Jakarta EE. According to Baeldung:

The Java EE / Jakarta EE numbers are also interesting – going from 9.5% last year to now 14%. The current more stable and well-understood path is clearly helping.

But is that because of that Snyk found:

that 95% of developers who are not aware of
their exact Java EE version, use Java EE indirectly, namely through the Spring Framework.

"Which IDE do you use?" is as always a very interesting question. The verdict is clear. All three survey fond IntelliJ to be the most popular with Eclipse in second place. According to Snyk, Vim has a share of 4%, which I find unusual for doing Java, VS Code can also be seen to climbing a bit too. And where is Oracle's proposition, JDeveloper? Nowhere to be found.

Turning to the hot potato, the holy grail of them all - OracleJDK or OpenJDK? Results from JRebel suggest that nearly half of respondents were using the Oracle JDK:


The JRebel report comments:

It was very surprising to see how many of our survey respondents are paying for Oracle JDK. I fully expected the open source options to have a much larger market share.

and suggests a reason:

the large Java 8 developer demographic represented in our survey. We think that the number of developers using Java 8 suggests that the project hasn’t been updated in a long period of time which could be what has kept the applications in the Oracle distribution.

and adds:

The support provided by Oracle JDK may be more important than we thought.

Snyk reports that although Oracle JDK is still dominant with a 34% share, there is a huge shift towards other OpenJDK providers, suggesting that this figure might reduce soon.

However, one area in which the reports diverge is in paid-for support. Snyk, whose survey was of 2000 developers from a wide range of sources,  found that just 9% pay for support of their Oracle JDK, while the JRebel survey, of users of a commercial plug-in, found that nearly 50 percent of respondents were using the paid-for Oracle JDK.

With the recent changes to Oracle JDK distribution and support, there’s been considerable uncertainty over the usage right. After January 2019, Java SE 8 public updates and thereafter require a commercial license. And this is where the Oracle JDK versus OpenJDK battle begins.

In the JRebel survey, of the 60% of respondents using a PaaS provider, 43% use AWS, 14% use Microsoft Azure, and 12% use Google Cloud Platform. This prompts me to ask, Has Oracle lost the cloud?

Turning to database use, Baeldung found that MySQL and PostgreSQL were the two most popular with OracleDB third and MongoDB and MS SQL fourth and fifth. JRebel's finding are again slightly different. PostgreSQL at 47% was the most popular with Oracle DB a close second at 42% and MySQL a lagging third, with 28% of respondents reporting usage. 



In the next and last part, Where's Java Going In 2020, we look at Build tools, other languages on the JVM and the final conclusions amassing all three surveys.


More Information

JRebel 2020 Java Technology Report

Snyk JVM Ecosystem Report 2020

Baeldunng The State of Java in 2019

Related Articles 

Java 8 Remains Dominant

How is Java Doing?

What Makes Developers Tick


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Last Updated ( Monday, 24 February 2020 )