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Java Programming Language Celebrates Its 25th Birthday. What's Next?


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May 23rd marks the 25th anniversary of the day Sun Microsystems introduced Java to the world, notes InfoWorld. Looking at both the present and the future, they write that currently Java remains popular "with enterprises even as a slew of rival languages, such as Python and Go, now compete for the hearts and minds of software developers." Java continues to rank among the top three programming languages in the most prominent language popularity indexes — Tiobe, RedMonk, and PyPL. Java had enjoyed a five-year stint as the top language in the Tiobe index until this month, when it was overtaken by the C language, thanks perhaps to the combination of C's wide use in medical equipment and the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Java represents a huge ecosystem and source of jobs. There were an estimated nine million Java developers worldwide in 2017, according to Oracle. A recent search of jobs site Dice.com found nearly 12,000 Java-related jobs in the USA, compared to roughly 9,000 jobs in JavaScript and 7,600 in Python. Plus, Java has spawned an enormous ecosystem of tools ranging from the Spring Framework to application servers from companies such as IBM, Red Hat, and Oracle to the JavaFX rich media platform. The developers behind Java — including Oracle and the broader OpenJDK community — have kept the platform moving forward. Released two months ago, Java 14, or Java Development Kit (JDK) 14, added capabilities including switch expressions, to simplify coding, and JDK Flight Recorder (JFR) Event Streaming, for continuous consumption of JFR data. Up next for Java is JDK 15, set to arrive as a production release in September 2020, with capabilities still being lined up for it. So far, the features expected include a preview of sealed classes, which provide more-granular control over code, and records, which provide classes that act as transparent carriers for immutable data. Also under consideration for Java is a plan dubbed Project Leyden, which would address "longterm pain points" in Java including resource footprint, startup time, and performance issues by introducing static images to the platform.

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