Java Full-Stack Report October 2022
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In my monthly “Java Full-Stack Report”, I recommend IDEs, build tools, JVM languages, databases, back-end frameworks, web frameworks, and mobile app frameworks. I also cover essential releases and news.
This month: Java 19 arrived, Java lost 20% of job ads recently, Quarkus & Micronaut now #3 & #4 in job ads, Spring Boot 3 ships in November & delays Java Module support, and Jakarta EE adds features for the first time in 5 years.
This report is different because it measures popularity by observing what all Java developers do: job ads from 62 countries, online training students, Stack Overflow questions, and Google searches. My recommendations are based on that popularity, industry analysis, and my 23 years of Java experience.
Why popularity? Because picking a popular technology makes our developer life easier: easier to learn, easier to build, debug & deploy, easier to find jobs/hire, and easier to convince teammates & bosses. Now popularity can make a difference in two situations: When multiple technologies score similarly, we could go for the most popular one. And when a technology is very unpopular, we may not use it.
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Table Of Contents
- What’s This?
- Release Radar
- New & Noteworthy
- Technology Index
This issue is late, and see me at W-JAX Munich next month.
Java 19 is here! Git, Eclipse, VS Code, Quarkus, and Micronaut had major releases. And IntelliJ, Spring Boot, Helidon, and DropWizard had minor ones.
New & Noteworthy
What’s new in Java 19, Virtual Threads from Project Loom explained, Spring Boot 3 ships November 2022 and delays Java Module support, Jakarta EE 10 adds new features for the first time in five years, and my short interview with the Helidon lead.
Why Popularity - and How?
Picking a popular technology makes our developer life easier: easier to learn, easier to build, debug & deploy, easier to find jobs/hire, and easier to convince teammates & bosses. Now popularity can make a difference in two situations: When multiple technologies score similarly, we could go for the most popular one. And when a technology is very unpopular, we may not use it.
I measure popularity among employers and developers as the trend between competing technologies. I count mentions in job ads at Indeed for employer popularity. For developer popularity, I use Google searches, Udemy course buyers, and Stack Overflow questions.
- Popularity trend: Eclipse is the most popular Java IDE, though it has declined over many years. IntelliJ holds up well for a commercial product: Except for job ads, it’s neck-to-neck with Eclipse. NetBeans is the least popular IDE. VS Code isn’t a fully fledged Java IDE, but - apart from jobs - it’s 3-4 times as popular as Eclipse & IntelliJ.
- If you don’t want to spend money, then use Eclipse.
- If you may spend money, evaluate IntelliJ.
- Evaluate VS Code for non-Java work, like web development (I use it for all my websites).
- If you’re using NetBeans, consider moving off of it.
- Popularity trend: Maven is 2.5 times as popular as Gradle, except for Stack Overflow, where Gradle is slightly ahead of Maven. Ant and sbt have declined for years.
- If you use Scala, then use sbt.
- Otherwise, if you absolutely cannot stand XML files and/or need to customize your build heavily, then use Gradle.
- Otherwise, use Maven.
- On your current project, keep your existing language unless that language is absolutely, really not working out for you.
- If you need to switch languages or are on a new project:
- Use Scala if you need functional programming.
- Use Kotlin if you really need a “more modern Java”.
- Otherwise, use the latest Java LTS version you, your team, and your application can take.
- Popularity trend: MySQL is #1, Postgres #2, and MongoDB is #3. MySQL and MongoDB surged over the last three months in job ad mentions, with MySQL leading Postgres now 2:1 and MongoDB reaching 70% of Postgres’ numbers.
- On your current project, keep your existing database unless that database is absolutely, irrevocably, really not working out for you.
- If you need to switch databases or are on a new project:
- If you know that you’ll need the NoSQL features and/or scalability, and you can’t get this with MySQL, then use MongoDB.
- Otherwise, use MySQL.
- Popularity trend: Spring Boot dominates and still grows in all categories except for Google searches. Despite a long decline, Jakarta EE leads Quarkus in all categories but questions at Stack Overflow, where Quarkus just hit its all-time high. Quarkus is now #3 in job ad mentions, Micronaut is the new #4.
- On your current project, keep your existing back-end framework unless that framework is absolutely, really not working out for you.
- If you need to switch back-end frameworks or are on a new project:
- Use Quarkus if you need the smallest possible, fastest-starting Java application now.
- Otherwise, use Spring Boot.
- Popularity trend: React is #1, Angular #2, and Vue #3. React leads Angular 1.4:1 in job ad mentions and pulls away from Angular in developer popularity. Vue holds steady in all categories at about half of Angular’s level but catches up in job ad mentions and (more slowly) in students at Udemy.
- If you already use React, Angular, or Vue in your project, then keep using them. Otherwise, evaluate a migration. In many (most?) cases, such migration doesn’t make business sense.
- If you start a new project or migrate, then start with React first, Angular otherwise, and finally Vue.
Mobile App Frameworks
- Popularity trend: React Native has 50% more apps on iOS but only leads Flutter in job ad mentions 1.5:1 after a steep decline in the last five months. Among developers, Flutter leads React Native 2:1 and pulls away (except for Google searches, where both slightly lost). Xamarin and JavaFX have generally declined for years.
- Don’t build two separate applications with Apple’s and Google’s first-party frameworks. Use a cross-platform framework instead.
- If you already use Flutter or React Native in your project, then keep using them. Otherwise, evaluate migration. In many (most?) cases, such a migration doesn’t make business sense.
- If you start a new project or migrate and have used React before, then start with React Native first and use Flutter otherwise.
- If you start a new project or migrate and have not used React, then begin with Flutter first and use React Native otherwise.