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Java.net Poll and Dice.com Survey: Looking Ahead to a Bright 2012 for Java Developers!

Posted by editor on January 9, 2012 at 10:30 PM PST

Lots of people wanted to express their expectations for 2012 in the most recent java.net poll. A total of 856 votes were cast in the poll, and one comment was posted. Here is the exact question, and the results:

The most important Java/JVM news/event/happening in 2012 will be related to:

  • 12% (106 votes) - The Cloud
  • 17% (142 votes) - Java EE
  • 18% (152 votes) - Java SE / OpenJDK
  • 10% (89 votes) - JavaFX
  • 6% (55 votes) - Java ME
  • 4% (34 votes) - Non-Java JVM Languages
  • 22% (186 votes) - Android
  • 3% (27 votes) - Other
  • 8% (65 votes) - I don't know

Clearly, there is no real consensus on what will be the most important Java/JVM topic in 2012. I suppose that's actually a good thing, if it implies that people see Java "moving forward" in many different areas. For me, the new vision for development of the broad spectrum of Java technologies, and their integration, that was presented starting at JavaOne 2011, suggests that indeed we can expect strong advances in many different areas of Java and the JVM in 2012.

Companies are noticing, as well. For example, the United States software engineering job site Dice.com published the results of a survey of 1,200 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters, finding that the top priority for 2012 among this group is finding Java / J2EE developers. Here are the Top 10 priorities identified by the recruiters:

The number 3 item in the Dice survey (Mobile Developers) synchronizes with Android receiving a 22% plurality of the voting in our Java.net survey. I am increasingly seeing evidence that what's happening in the mobile apps arena is fairly akin to what was happening in the mid to late 1990s (i.e., the .com boom). Every company then was petrified of being left behind by the Web train that was leaving the station. Today, something similar seems to be happening with respect to mobile platforms: everyone has to have a mobile app, every company. The sense is that you're dead (in the future, they think) without one.

Of course, as in the .com boom, everyone's probably right about this: you will have to be present on mobile platforms in the future. What's not happening (so far) is companies thinking start-ups with any random mobile-centric idea are suddenly worth (in terms of corporate value) far more than companies that have been global leaders for many decades. I was very worried about this (profitless NASDAQ start-ups having stock market valuations that exceeded those of long-established NYSE corporations) as I watched it unfold during the .com boom.

But maybe there won't be a mobile bust anytime soon, just a nice enduring boomlet for developers. I don't right now see the same type of symptoms I saw in the late 1990s and 2000. This time, it seems like most of the hiring is being done by the established companies themselves. Their response to their mobile frenzy is to try to bring more developers in house, or into consulting agreements. This makes each mobile developer in essence a self-contained "start-up" -- kind of nice, no?

Getting back to Java: note that a great many mobile apps tie into a back-end server farm. This is one of multiple areas where Java EE fits in.

Then, there's the comment that was posted to our Java.net poll by Java.net user m1k0, who thinks the most important Java/JVM news/event/happening in 2012 will be related to: "Java SE + JavaFx for mobiles."

Know what? The power of many modern mobile phones exceeds the power of most computers we originally developed Java applications for way back when. For example, I just bought an HTC Wildfire S phone with a 600 MHz processor and 512 MB RAM (expandable to 32 GB). Around the year 2000, a clock speed of 600 MHz was pretty good indeed:

Then there are all those faster, and multi-core, phones that cost a bit more than mine!

Java SE was originally designed to run on desktop computers that were even less powerful than today's typical mid-level mobile phones. I think m1k0 may be onto something here!

I'd like to thank all the developers who took the time to vote in our "looking ahead to 2012" poll.

New poll: NetBeans 7.1

Our new Java.net poll is much more specific. It asks How soon do you plan to start using the just-released NetBeans 7.1? Voting will be open until Friday, January 20.


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Since my last blog post, several people have posted worthy new java.net blogs:


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Our latest java.net href="http://www.java.net/archive/spotlight">Spotlight is Terrence Barr's Revving Mobile Java: OJWC 3.1 released -

With over 3 billion devices and counting, Java on mobile devices is enjoying growth and huge adoption in many key markets around the world. In the meantime, developers are pushing to build richer and more interesting applications, both from a functional as well as a user interface perspective. New use cases in mCommerce, social networking, location-based services...


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-- Kevin Farnham

Twitter: @kevin_farnham