New Relic: Developers swiftly embracing newer Java releases

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According to New Relic’s fourth annual State of the Java Ecosystem report released today, Java remains one of the most popular languages among developers nearly three decades on due to its “scalability and portability, allowing users to run on any device with a Java virtual machine.”

The report, based on data from hundreds of thousands of applications, provides insights into how developers are utilising Java and which versions are gaining traction. Two key findings highlight the accelerating adoption of recent releases:

  • “Java 21 sees higher adoption than Java 17: Following the release of Java 21 in September 2023, the report found that the adoption rate for the latest Java LTS version was 287% higher in the first six months after release than its previous LTS counterpart, Java 17.”
  • “Java 17 overtakes Java 11 as the most-used LTS version: The Java 17 growth rate exploded to a nearly 300% year-over-year (YoY) increase, with over 35% of applications using Java 17 in production this year compared to 9% in 2023. To put this growth into perspective, it took years for Java 11 to reach a similar growth rate.”

This rapid migration to newer versions can likely be attributed to the improvements in “stability, security, and performance” that developers value, according to the report. Oracle, the steward of Java, releases updates every six months with long-term support (LTS) versions arriving every two years.

The report also shed light on trends among Java distributions and complementary tools:

  • While Amazon’s distribution remains popular at 18% usage, its share dropped 43% year-over-year as the community-led Eclipse Adoptium made gains, increasing 50% to an 18% usage share.
  • New Relic’s data revealed that Log4j is the most popular logging framework, with 76% of Java applications that report to New Relic using it—followed by JBoss Logging (61%) and Logback (52%).
  • Bouncy Castle topped the list as the most popular library for encryption, with 17% of Java applications using it. 16 percent use Spring Security and six percent use Jasypt.
  • Oracle Database takes pole position among databases with 17 percent, followed by PostgreSQL (14%) and MySQL (13%).

To gather qualitative insights, New Relic analysed queries to its AI observability assistant from Java developers. “The most common types of Java-related questions and requests asked by developers using the New Relic AI generative AI observability assistant include how-to type questions (34%), followed by querying for a specific metric (21%), and troubleshooting (14%).”

Java’s enduring popularity nearly 30 years after its birth is a testament to the language’s excellence and the robust community surrounding it. The sweeping report makes clear that far from fading away, Java remains an essential tool driving countless production applications worldwide.

You can find a full version of the report here.

(Photo by Nathan Dumlao)

See also: Google blocked 2M malicious apps from the Play Store in 2023

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