Java has been around for ages – since 1996 in fact – and is unlikely to fade away anytime soon. There’s a good chance that Java is behind almost every website a person visits. It is everywhere, from the smallest embedded systems to the largest scientific and commercial systems.
There are scores of advantages of Java that make it indispensable for developers, business and end-users. The language simply makes tasks, which used to be very problematic before its introduction, a lot easier for developers. Things like portability of binary distributions of programs, portability of applications that have user interfaces, management of memory, use of multiple threads, safety features, prevention of pointer errors and high-quality optimisation are handled by Java better than any other language subsequently introduced.
However, its biggest USP is that over the years most mission critical systems in businesses have been built on Java and therefore businesses have become very dependent on these. Consequently, enterprises using Java-based systems are very unlikely to move away from them in the near future. Besides, a majority of mobile phones too use Java for app development.
Top of the charts
According to TIOBE programming monthly index, Java is still the most popular programming languages. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third-party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube etc are leveraged to calculate TIOBE ratings.
Java vs competition
Though there has been some decline from its peak popularity, Java still remains at the top of the pack. It was the most popular language as of February 2020. There has in fact been a marginal increase in popularity since last year. It is closely followed by C, Python and C++, which too have significant popularity.
Ideal for developers
Python and Go may get all of the hype, but Java is still potentially the smartest language for developers seeking a new job to learn right now. Java developers saw some of the fastest-growing salaries in the US recently, according to Glassdoor. Java API, the class library, is as much a part of Java as the language itself. The real challenge of learning how to use Java is about learning the API. The language consists of 50 keywords, but the Java API has thousands of classes with tens of thousands of methods developers can use in programs. Besides, Java itself has experienced consistent development in its programming efficiency over the years that keeps it relevant.
What they like most about it
→ Open source: Developers don’t need to pay to write apps in Java as it is an open source programming language found easily on the official website of Java.
→ Object oriented: Concepts are much easier and relatable to developers. Java is flexible, system modular and an extensible language.
→ Applicability: Programs that work on servers, mobile phones, ATMs, televisions, set top boxes, IoT gateways, medical devices, automobiles, etc. Are built using Java.
→ Rich API: The language comes with a wide set of tools which is supported by Java’s open source ecosystem.
→ Development tools: The powerful IDEs which are available for has taken Java to the top level. Eclipse and Netbeans have made coding in Java a breeze.
→ Scalable: Java is a scalable and stable programming language, working on mobiles, desktops and large scale applications.
→ Big Data tech: Java is widely used in Hadoop and other big data technologies. Apache HBase and Elasticsearch also leverage Java.
→ Community Support: Large developers community can offer good support.
For end users
One of the biggest reasons why Java is so popular is the platform independence. Programs can run on several different types of computers as long as they have a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on them. Most PCs are compatible with a JRE, including PCs running on Windows, Macintosh computers, Unix or Linux PCs, and large mainframe computers, as well as mobile phones. Since it has been around for so long, some of the biggest organisations in the world are built using the language. Other end-users like banks, retailers, insurance companies, utilities, and manufacturers also use Java extensively. Expert programmers say there is no sign of Java declining in use. Instead, it is an evolving language which uniquely combines stability with innovation.
All told, Java continues to grow and spread year on year despite several new programming languages getting launched. This thing is in for a very long haul!