2022 Java Developer Productivity Report: Teams aren’t realising the promise of microservices

Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

The latest edition of Perforce’s annual Java Developer Productivity Report highlights that teams aren’t realising the full promise of microservices and CI/CD.

Developers are often finding that microservices and CI/CD are decreasing their productivity rather than improving. 

Among CI/CD users, 42 percent of respondents report build completion times of over five minutes. The most common (33%) response was build times exceeding 10 minutes.

The highest percentage (35%) of respondents report committing code over five times per day. Such downtime per day quickly adds up over the course of weeks, months, and years.

Jenkins (46%) is, by some margin, the most popular CI/CD technology being used by the respondents. GitHub Actions (16%) took second place, followed by Bamboo (7%), TeamCity (4%), Circle CI (3%), and Travis CI (1%).

Perforce’s survey found that 61 percent of respondents experienced an increase in the startup time for their microservice-based applications within the last 12 months.

13 percent reported an over 50 percent increase in startup time for their microservice-based applications, while a large 30 percent reported a 10-50 percent increase. 17 percent reported a 0-10 percent increase. Overall, 60 percent reported some increase in startup time within the last 12 months compared to 35 percent reporting no increase.

Rod Cope, CTO at Perforce Software, said:

“This report shows there is still friction for teams adopting microservices and CI/CD, namely the time wasted while waiting on redeploy and commit times.

This friction will be top of mind for organisations who want to improve the efficiency of their Java teams—especially as recruiting and retaining skilled talent becomes increasingly difficult in the next few years.

From a developer perspective, organisations need to provide the tools developers want, or risk them finding an organisation that will.”

Similar to CI/CD users, microservices application users also reported high redeploy times. 44 percent of microservices application users report times exceeding five minutes per redeploy.

“Adopting a microservices architecture has a host of benefits for Java applications, but developer productivity is a concern without the right tools in place,” said Curtis Johnson, Product Manager at JRebel by Perforce.

When asked what their team would do if they could save 10 percent time during the workday, just four percent said (or admitted to!) answers like “Drink more coffee/beer”, “Party like it’s 1999”, and “Sleep”.

The most popular answer was “Add new features” (28%), followed by “Improve application performance” (20%), “Improve test coverage” (19%), “Improve development processes” (17%), “Start a new application or project” (6%), and “Move up launch dates” (6%).

44 percent of the respondents say their applications are now fully microservice-based. A further 44 percent report they’re “currently transitioning” to microservices. 10 percent say they’re “talking about it” while just 2 percent report trying it “but it didn’t work out”.

In terms of microservice application frameworks, Spring Boot (74%) is, by far, the most adopted:

(Credit: Perforce)

Most respondents report having 1-5 microservices (30%) in their primary application. This is followed by 5-10 (24%), 20+ (22%), and 10-20 (16%).

Other Java developer trends

The majority of developers are using Java 8 (37%) as their JDK programming language in their main application, according to the report. This is followed by Java 11 (29%), while just 12 percent are using Java 12 or newer.

However, the majority (62%) with knowledge of their upgrade plans intend to upgrade to JDK 17 within the next 12 months. 37 percent of those expect to do so within the next six months.

LTS is the leading factor influencing the decision to upgrade JDK version, with 25 percent citing it. Rounding out the top five factors are security (23%), performance (20%), new features (18%), and compliance (14%)

Oracle Java (36%) is the main JRE/JDK distribution being used by developers. Generic OpenJDK (27%) takes second place, while AdoptOpenJDK/Adoptium (16%) rounds out the top three.

IntelliJ (48%) is the IDE of choice for most respondents, followed by Eclipse (24%) and VSCode (18%).

In terms of build tools, Maven (68%) retains its lead with Gradle (23%) significantly behind and Ant (6%) trailing even further.

(Photo by Michiel Leunens on Unsplash)

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