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Poll Result: Community Believes Java Will Still Be the Dominant JVM Language 10 Years from Now

Posted by editor on September 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM PDT

Non-Java JVM languages get lots of publicity and have garnered significant interest. However, the results of the most recently completed poll suggest that the Java developer community is convinced that Java will easily maintain its leadership role among JVM languages during the next decade. A total of 1038 votes were cast (an unusually large number), and two comments were posted, in the poll. The exact question and results were:

10 years from now, which JVM language will be used most for new software development projects?

  • 68% (707 votes) - Java
  • 4% (39 votes) - Groovy
  • 7% (71 votes) - Scala
  • 1% (10 votes) - Clojure
  • 1% (13 votes) - JRuby
  • 1% (15 votes) - A different JVM language that exists today
  • 6% (64 votes) - A JVM language that hasn't yet been invented
  • 11% (119 votes) - I don't know

The result of this (admittedly, unscientific) poll surprise me, because 10 years is a very long time in the realm of software and hardware. If you're old enough to have been technologically aware then, consider what the situation was 10 years ago, in 2002. Yes, Java was major then, and the war against Microsoft becoming predominant in software development was still ongoing. But it was still a Web 1.0 world.

What will the software engineering world be in 2022? Though I've been developing software for more than 3 decades, I don't want to venture too much of a guess, other than to say that software developers will be working with hardware platforms that offer immensely increased internal memory, many processor cores, and enormous fast disk drives. Software will address enormous data volumes, and parallel processing will be a fundamental aspect of processing this data. And, "computers" will shrink, and "disappear" into devices that we won't even consider computers -- i.e., computers and software embedded into devices powered by what we now call microprocessors won't even be considered computer-powered devices in that age (a similar history happened with "motors" in the 20th Century). That's my guess...

So, in with respect to Java, I view Lambda Expressions, Project Lambda, as a very key element...

One of the most interesting data points in this poll is that, if you sum up the votes for currently existing non-Java languages (Groovy, Scala, Clojure, JRuby, and "a different JVM language that exists today"), you have 148 votes (14%). Yet, 6% of the voters think that, not only will Java not be the JVM language most used for new JVM-based software development projects 10 years from now, but the leading language for new projects then will be a JVM language that hasn't yet been invented. Now, these are the people who, I think, truly understand how fast technology can change! I don't know that they'll be correct when we look back at this poll in 2022, but they're anticipating that needs that aren't fully understood today will induce the creation of new solutions that will lead the way by 2022!

Technology does seem to evolve that way. By 2022, will we be increasingly packaging legacy Java code as callable libraries, wrapping it in some new JVM technology? Just as today, we package legacy COBOL and FORTRAN and C libraries and wrap them in modern software technology?

Well, the vast majority of voters in this poll say "no" to that type of conjecture. They think Java will still be predominant. Maybe someone will remember this poll in 2022, and look back to see who was right!

Meanwhile, the two people who posted comments, pjmlp and marrs, consider the poll question itself a bit behind the technology curve as we look forward to what software development will be 10 years from now. pjmlp said "You missed the option of the JVM still makes sense in 10 years from now" and marrs adds "I sincerely hope that in 10 years from now, technology will have advanced way beyond the JVM" -- and they both provide strong arguments for their positions.

With this type of debate happening today, surely the global future in terms of technology is bright!

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